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Speakers

Maxwell KingMaxwell King

Maxwell King has served as president and CEO of The Pittsburgh Foundation since 2014. Previously, King served for two years as the founding director of the Fred Rogers Center for Early Learning and Children's Media at Saint Vincent College. In 2011, he left the Center to begin writing the first-ever full biography of children's educational television pioneer Fred Rogers. King also served from 1999 to 2008 as president of the Pittsburgh-based Heinz Endowments. From 1990 to 1998, he was editor of the Philadelphia Inquirer. During that period, the Inquirer was recognized by Time magazine as one of the five best newspapers in America. King is the recipient of numerous awards, including honorary doctorates from Point Park University and the University of Pittsburgh.


Joanne RogersJoanne Rogers

Joanne Byrd Rogers, born in Florida, is a long-time resident of Pittsburgh. She began her musical training at age five and received a bachelor of music degree from Rollins College, where she met her husband Fred Rogers. She received a master of music degree from Florida State University, where she held a graduate fellowship for piano study with Ernst von Dohnanyi, the renowned Hungarian composer, pianist and conductor. Her piano study with Dohnanyi continued until his death in 1960. Rogers also received honorary degrees from Rollins College, Saint Vincent College and Seton Hill University.

Fred and Joanne Rogers were married in 1952 in New York City and moved to Pittsburgh in 1953 when Fred joined the founders of the public television station, WQED. They raised their two sons, James and John, in Pittsburgh. Rogers also is a grandmother to three grandsons: Alexander, Douglas and Ian.

Since 1976, Rogers has concertized extensively with her Rollins classmate, Jeannine Morrison, as a duo-piano team. She retired from public performance in 2008.

Rogers currently serves as chair emerita of the board of directors of The Fred Rogers Company, the non-profit organization Fred Rogers founded in 1971. She also is the honorary chair of the advisory council for The Fred Rogers Center for Early Learning and Children's Media, which is located on the campus of St. Vincent College in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, Fred Rogers' hometown. Through these two organizations, she is actively invested in carrying on Fred's legacy—working with families and children.


Joe NegriJoe Negri

Joe Negri, a Pittsburgh icon and guitar legend, has distinguished himself as a nationally acclaimed performer, recognized composer, renowned actor and respected educator. He may be most familiar to national audiences for his 30-year tenure as the affable Handyman Negri on Mister Rogers' Neighborhood. However, he has appeared with a roster of platinum artists including Michael Feinstein, Tony Bennett, Andy Williams, Wynton Marsalis, Branford Marsalis, Buddy Defranco and YoYo Ma. Negri's discography includes the Pittsburgh Symphony's Cinema Serenade with Itzhak Pearlman and John Williams. Compositions by Negri include scores for TV documentaries and major works for jazz instrumental and choral ensembles.

Negri serves as adjunct professor of guitar at Carnegie Mellon University, Duquesne University (where he is an honorary doctor of music) and the University of Pittsburgh. In 1998, he was named Man of the Year by the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, and in 2004 he received the coveted Elsie Award. Additionally, Joe was chosen as Man of the Year in 2008 by Audia Caring Heritage Foundation. Negri served as WTAE-TV's musical director for more than 20 years.


David NewellDavid Newell

David Newell played the beloved character "Mr. McFeely" for more than 30 years on the landmark PBS series Mister Rogers' Neighborhood. Even though Mr. McFeely's schedule was often busy, he always had time for his familiar "Speedy Delivery!" greeting.

Away from the character make-up, Newell assumed many behind-the-scenes responsibilities for Mister Rogers' Neighborhood. Having been with the series since its inception in 1967, he was properties manager, associate producer and director of public relations for Family Communications, Inc., the producers of the series.

Newell's background includes wide-ranging involvement in theater arts as an actor, technician, stage manager and administrator. A native of Pittsburgh, he has worked with the Pittsburgh Playhouse, The Civic Light Opera Company and The Little Lake Arena Theater. He also has been involved in theater productions in Los Angeles and Honolulu. Newell is a board member of the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium and the Theatre Historical Society of America. He also sits on the advisory committee of the Pittsburgh International Children's Theater

Newell received his certification in theater arts from the Pittsburgh Playhouse and a bachelor's degree in English literature from the University of Pittsburgh. He lives in Pittsburgh with his wife, Nan, and they have three children and four grandchildren.