Cellist Yo-Yo Ma Receives Fred Rogers Legacy Award Tonight
The Fred Rogers Center for Early Learning and Children's Media, home of the archives of the late Fred Rogers, beloved creator and host of the celebrated television program Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, and a national and international resource continuing his commitment to early learning, will honor world-renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma as the inaugural recipient of the Fred Rogers Legacy Award tonight, May 23, 2014. The renowned musician will also give a recital to benefit the Center, based at Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, which is currently celebrating its 10th anniversary.
The Fred Rogers Legacy Award recognizes individuals who have creatively advanced the legacy of Fred Rogers through their own contributions to the well-being of children and by inspiring others to help children develop their unique talents and human potential. These individuals have made exemplary professional contributions and personal commitments to service that pay forward elements of Fred Rogers' legacy as a person embodying universal human values, a creative artist, a teacher and model of core principles for early learning and development, an innovator, and an advocate for the dignity and potential of all children. In their work, recipients also demonstrate the mission of the Fred Rogers Center for Early Learning and Children's Media, as catalysts for communication, collaboration and creative change in their fields.
Yo-Yo Ma first met Fred Rogers in the mid-1980s and appeared twice with him on the revered public television program Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, developing a lifelong friendship. Mr. Ma was invited to receive the Legacy Award by Joanne Rogers, Fred Rogers' widow and honorary chairperson of the Center's advisory council in celebration of the 10th anniversary of the founding of the Center. Honored by the award and excited to visit the Fred Rogers Center, Mr. Ma has welcomed the opportunity to come to Latrobe, Pennsylvania.
In keeping with the life and legacy of Fred Rogers, Mr. Ma has used his many talents to inspire, nurture, and educate, and it is in the spirit of these unique endowments that the Fred Rogers Center is greatly honored to recognize him with the inaugural Fred Rogers Legacy Award. The late Fred Rogers said of his friend Yo- Yo Ma: "The only thing larger than his talent is his heart."
Through his commitment to education and cultural enrichment, Mr. Ma founded the Silk Road Project to promote the study of cultural, artistic, and intellectual traditions internationally as well as a multidisciplinary educational program for middle school U.S. students. Like Fred Rogers, Mr. Ma expertly uses the power of popular culture and media to engage "students" of all ages in learning about and through music.
"I would describe this as an extraordinary evening that will be fondly remembered by those who attend," commented the Rt. Rev. Douglas R. Nowicki, O.S.B., archabbot and chancellor at Saint Vincent, and another lifelong friend of Fred Rogers.
Richard Fernandes, the new executive director of the Center, said of the Legacy Award, "It's a great way to define the Center as it moves into its second decade of work. We are fine-tuning the Center's programs, and I think that the relevance of Fred Rogers' legacy is more important now than ever before in the fields of early learning and children's media. One of the things that Fred did so well was to focus on social-emotional development, that is, how children work with their feelings, how they feel, how they react. And one of the things that I think is an interesting juxtaposition is that during Yo-Yo Ma's visit to the Neighborhood he and Fred had a conversation about how they each express themselves through music. This special event is really about that expression. It will be reflective but also looking to the future."