Photo by Scott Cook, courtesy Rollins College
A statue of beloved children's television host Mr. Rogers was unveiled this week at Fred Rogers' original "neighborhood": Rollins College in Winter Park.
The statue, dubbed "A Beautiful Day for a Neighbor," will now reside in the Chapel Garden courtyard near the Annie Russell Theatre.
The 360-degree, 7-foot-tall sculpture sees Rogers, beatific smile in place, surrounded by a small crowd of children, with Daniel the Tiger close at hand. The statue was designed by British artist Paul Day.
Rogers, graduating class of 1951, is one of Rollins' most beloved alumni. Rogers majored in music composition and met his wife-to-be, Sara Joanne Byrd, while in school there. Even after becoming the iconic host of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood
, Rogers would still pop in every so often to take a look around at the campus, always unannounced and with little fanfare. Rogers passed away in 2003, but his benevolent presence still (luckily) looms large over Rollins — and we guess will loom larger than ever now.
“This inspirational sculpture will be a permanent reminder of the ideals and values modeled by Mister Rogers as he set out to make the world a better place,” said Rollins President Grant Cornwell in a press statement. “This tribute will reinforce the quest for empathy, acceptance and kindness so needed in our society today.”
Stay on top of Central Florida news and views with our weekly newsletters, and consider supporting this free publication. Our small but mighty team is working tirelessly to bring you Central Florida news, and every little bit helps.