From the Nominator
"As the oldest college in Florida, Rollins College educates students to be global citizens and responsible leaders. This same educational foundation influenced the life of Fred Rogers, known worldwide as “Mister Rogers,” who graduated from Rollins in 1951 with a degree in music composition. Over the years, Rollins has kept Rogers’ legacy alive on the campus by displaying memorabilia, including a sweater and pair of sneakers he wore on “Mister Rogers Neighborhood.”
In 2019, a long-time trustee raised funds to erect a bronze sculpture of our influential alumnus on our campus in Winter Park. On October 28, 2021, we unveiled “A Beautiful Day for a Neighbor” by Paul Day in a campus ceremony. We introduced the sculpture to the community the following morning (Oct. 29)--our most significant salute to Rogers yet.
The goal of the unveiling events was to create the connection between Fred Rogers and how Rollins influenced the worldviews that ultimately enabled him to become an American icon, and how his message of kindness continues to impact our world today. Our objective was to have the unveiling covered by local and national media to increase the exposure of this event to a wide audience.
The result was overwhelming. We obtained more than 1,070 stories and 870.9 million impressions. The buzz generated by coverage from our local NBC and ABC affiliates and coverage on the front page of the Orlando Sentinel resulted in several national placements, including NPR, Associated Press, E.W. Scripps Company, and CNN."
From the Judges
What a beautiful tribute and creative use of events to highlight Rollins! We were impressed with the variety of events and significant effort to raise the profile of the College and draw audiences from around the geographic region. We really felt this event highlighted positivity and creativity with a smart use of budget.