Penn State Intercom......April 11, 2002

Public television
celebrates 50th anniversary

A series of events to celebrate the birth of American public television will take place April 19 and 20 on the University Park campus.

The vision for nationwide educational television was articulated at a conference held April 20, 1952, at The Nittany Lion Inn.

On that day, more than 100 leaders in education, broadcasting and government gathered to accept a challenge from the Federal Communications Commission to envision a noncommercial educational television service. Today, their efforts are known as public television.

To commemorate the event, Penn State's own public television station, WPSX-TV Channel 3, will hold a two-day celebration featuring an evening keynote address on Friday, April 19, by Fred Rogers. "Mister Rogers" is the creator of the longest-running program on public television, "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood." "Mr. McFeely," played by David Newell, also will attend the events and is expected to take a spin on the new University trolley during his visit. Newell is the trolley car operator on "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood."

Penn State Public Broadcasting also will celebrate the beginning of a new chapter in public television history as it breaks ground on a joint facility with the World Campus in Innovation Park.

The weekend's events include:

Friday, April 19

* Groundbreaking ceremony for the new home for Penn State Public Broadcasting and the World Campus, 3 p.m. at Outreach Innovation Building, Innovation Park. The ceremony will be held across from the Lubert Building near The Penn Stater Conference Center Hotel.

* Ice cream social, 6:30-7:30 p.m., Thomas Building lawn. Admission is free. Attendees will include PBS characters Elmo and Cookie Monster from "Sesame Street," Cassie, Zak and Wheezie from "Dragon Tales," Clifford the Big Red Dog, Arthur and Sagwa the Chinese Siamese cat.

* Keynote speech by Fred Rogers, 8 p.m., 100 Thomas Building. Admission is free.

Saturday, April 20

* Blue and White football game, 1:30 p.m., half-time recognition focused on the 50th anniversary.

* Post-game event, outside Gate B near The Bryce Jordan Center. Children will have an opportunity to meet and photograph Elmo and Cookie Monster from "Sesame Street," "Dragon Tales' " Cassie, Zak and Wheezie, Clifford the Big Red Dog, Arthur and Sagwa the Chinese Siamese cat. A rain location will be announced at the game.