College Welcomes Mr. Rogers

Monday, May 15th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

LATROBE, Pa. (AP) — Mr. Rogers is welcome in his old neighborhood any time.

Two weeks after some students at Old Dominion University questioned whether the children's television icon was an appropriate speaker for college graduates, Fred Rogers received a standing ovation Saturday at Saint Vincent College in his native Latrobe.

The host of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood told the graduates he felt complete when he realized he could combine his loves for music, language and human development to help children.

``It's a miracle when you finally discover whom you're best equipped to serve ... and we're all equipped to serve in some way,'' he said.

At Old Dominion, some students complained that Mr. Rogers catered to too young an audience — one likened the appearance to having Barney or the Teletubbies speak.

But there were no such objections at Saint Vincent.

``He seemed to have their rapt attention,'' said university spokesman Don Orlando.

Mr. Rogers received the college's Presidential Medal of Honor and his wife, Joanne, a concert pianist, received an honorary doctor of musical arts degree.