More than 50 years ago, Fred Rogers was one of the first to recognize the immense potential of television for nurturing and educating young children. In 2000, collaborating with leaders from Saint Vincent College and a team of nationally recognized advisors, Fred Rogers began developing his vision for an international center that would bring together the brightest thinkers and practitioners in early learning, early childhood development, and children’s media. He invited two colleagues in these fields—Milton Chen, Ph.D., Executive Director of The George Lucas Educational Foundation, and Ellen Galinsky, President and Co-Founder of Families and Work Institute—to write seminal planning papers on the role that the Fred Rogers Center could play.
After Fred’s death in February 2003, the planning papers and the input of many additional advisors drove the ongoing development of the Fred Rogers Center. In September of that year, the Center was established at Saint Vincent College. As a national and international resource for addressing emerging issues affecting children from birth to age 5, the Center continues Fred’s commitment to building bridges between early learning and children’s media. The work of the Fred Rogers Center resonates with Fred’s own belief in the positive potential of television and new media for supporting the healthy social, emotional, cognitive, and physical development of young children.