Tim Madigan, Author of “I’m Proud of You: My Friendship with Fred Rogers,” Returns to Barton for Book Signing on Thursday, Nov. 1

WILSON, N.C. — Barton College’s Friends of Hackney Library will welcome the return of journalist and author Tim Madigan to campus on Thursday, Nov. 1, for a book signing in Hackney Library from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. to promote the recent release of the second edition of his 2006 book, “I’m Proud of You: My Friendship with Fred Rogers.” This latest edition, copies of which will be available for purchase at the event, features a new afterword by the author and is in paperback format. The event is open to the public at no charge, and the community is invited to attend. Refreshments will be served.

At the book signing, Madigan will speak about his remarkable friendship with the beloved Mister Rogers, sharing with attendees what it was like to be “good friends with one of history’s greatest humans.”

Madigan, currently of Arlington, Texas, but reared in small town in Minnesota, is an award-winning journalist and author of two other critically acclaimed books, “See No Evil: Blind Devotion and Bloodshed in David Koresh’s Holy War” (1993) and “The Burning: Massacre, Destruction and the Tulsa Race Riot of 1921” (2001). The latest edition of “I’m Proud of You” was released in March 2012 and tells the story of Madigan’s friendship with Fred Rogers, known best to many as the lovable, good-natured gentleman who welcomed generations of children to Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.

Reflective of the close bond between the two men, Fred Rogers served as one of the first readers of Madigan’s recently completed first novel, “Every Common Sight,” which is slated for publication next year.

“Everyone knows Fred Rogers was a good man,” said Tom Junod of Esquire Magazine. “What Tim Madigan was blessed to discover was that he was also a great one, and, like all great men, challenged as much as he inspired. Fred inspired because he saw the good in everyone; Fred challenged because he wanted everyone to see the good in themselves. Now Fred comes to life in ‘I’m Proud of You,’ with his simple goodness etched on every page, and his complicated greatness etched in the heart of every reader who finishes the book and decides to become a better person.”

Madigan and Rogers first met in 1995 when Madigan was assigned to write a profile of children’s television icon Fred Rogers for the Fort-Worth Star-Telegram. One November morning, he met Fred at the WQED station in Pittsburgh. Fred greeted him with a smile and said a heartfelt, “Welcome to our Neighborhood.” Madigan, watching from the sidelines, saw an episode of “Mister Rogers Neighborhood” unfold, and then later had a chance to sit down and talk with Fred. They spoke about family, friends, childhoods, religion, and heroes – a talk that was unlike any profile interview Madigan had ever had.

A few days later after following Rogers around and quizzing him regularly, something happened that was unthinkable to Madigan at the time — Rogers called him at his hotel room, “Tim, this is Fred Rogers. If you don’t have other plans, I was wondering whether you’d like to join my family and me for church tomorrow.” Of all the people who had profiled Rogers, Madigan was the first he ever invited to church.

After suffering marital problems and struggling with depression, Madigan found an advisor in Rogers who imparted a gentle but powerful perspective on spirituality, marriage, depression, and the nature of true friendship. With his friend’s loving and patient guidance, Madigan eventually came to understand that his emotional troubles were rooted in a deep fear that his father had never truly been proud of him. Hence the mantra of the friendship between the two, the phrase Rogers used to conclude dozens of letters and email messages to Madigan: I’m Proud of You. Their life-altering friendship lasted until Rogers’s death in 2003.

When not writing books or newspaper stories, Madigan enjoys spending time with his wife, Catherine, being a dad, playing the guitar, coaching and playing ice hockey, and backpacking in the Canadian Rockies.

For additional information about this event, please contact George Loveland, director of Hackney Library, at 252399-6501 or email: gwloveland@barton.edu.


Questions?  Please contact Kathy Daughety, director of public relations at Barton College, at 252-399-6529 or email: kdaughety@barton.edu.