Threshold Lecture Series Presents 'The Good Neighbor: Fred Rogers through the Eyes of Max King'

by Public Relations | Sep 04, 2018

Sept. 4, 2018

The Good NeighborAuthor Maxwell King will be the next speaker in the Saint Vincent College Threshold Series at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 20 at the Fred M. Rogers Center on the Campus of Saint Vincent College. The title of his talk is: The Good Neighbor: Fred Rogers Through the Eyes of Max King with David Hartman and Dr. Junlei Li. Admission is free, but reservations are required.

Just as Fred Rogers carried on a conversation with his viewers during each episode of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, this Threshold Series presentation will be a conversation, featuring Maxwell King, author of the new Fred Rogers biography “The Good Neighbor: The Life and Work of Fred Rogers,” with Good Morning America host David Hartman and Harvard professor and Fred Rogers Center senior fellow Junlei Li, who focuses on applying Fred’s lessons in the real world.

Maxwell King is a visionary leader who has helped to improve the quality of life in the Pittsburgh region through his service to nonprofit organizations and his advocacy for the betterment of children, education, the environment and disadvantaged people.

King was appointed executive director of the Fred Rogers Center for Early Learning and Children’s Media at Saint Vincent College in September 2008 and served two years in the position. Appointed as the Center was moving into its $14 million facility on campus, King worked to establish a national leadership role for the Center in issues surrounding early learning and children's media. 

Maxwell King, David Hartman and Dr. Junlei Li

During King’s tenure, his knowledge of education and ability to attract resources enabled the Rogers Center to prosper in its commitment to continuing the work of Fred Rogers. King’s character, ability and reputation made it possible for him to continue the outstanding service launched by Bill Isler, founding executive director of the Center, and his team. Now a senior fellow of the Center, he has authored the first-ever full biography of Fred Rogers, released this month.

Fred Rogers was an enormously influential figure in the history of television and in the lives of tens of millions of children. As the creator and star of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, he was a champion of compassion, equality and kindness. Rogers was fiercely devoted to children and to taking their fears, concerns and questions about the world seriously.

“The Good Neighbor” tells the story of this unique and enduring American icon. Drawing on original interviews, oral histories and archival documents, King traces Rogers’ personal, professional and artistic life through decades of work, including a surprising decision to walk away from the show to make television for adults, only to return to the neighborhood with increasingly sophisticated episodes, written in collaboration with experts on childhood development. Told engagingly and in rich detail, “The Good Neighbor” is the definitive portrait of a beloved figure, cherished by multiple generations.

David Hartman has co-produced, written and hosted more than 60 television documentaries for the networks, PBS and cable. In 1975, as the original host of Good Morning America, over 11 years, he conducted more than 12,000 interviews with subjects ranging from heads of state to families in the American heartland. His many journalism honors include national news and documentary Emmys for writing and the Aviation and Space Writers Journalism Award. Over many years he and Fred collaborated on several television projects for PBS and ABC.

Dr. Junlei Li holds the Saul Zaentz senior lectureship at Harvard Graduate School of Education.  Between 2013 to 2018, he served as the co-director of the Fred Rogers Center and the Rita M. McGinley chair at St. Vincent College.  He founded the students-driven research and development lab “Incubator 143” (Fred Rogers’ favorite number, representing the number of letters in the phrase “I love you”) and developed the course “What Would Fred Rogers do?”  Both continue to flourish here at the college. He will remain a senior fellow of the Center and is building a collaborative partnership between Harvard’s Zaentz Initiative in Early Childhood and the Center.

Saint Vincent College established the Threshold Lecture Series in 1981 when the Kennametal Foundation of Latrobe made a substantial grant to the College for the creation of an ongoing series of lectures and cultural events.

Admission is free of charge for the presentation, however all seats are reserved and admission will be by ticket only. Requests for reservations may be made online at or by phone at 724-805-2177. Please note that tickets will be held at the box office for pickup when you arrive for the presentation; no tickets are mailed in advance. Tickets not claimed by 7:10 p.m. will be released.


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