Members of the GMC community will join together on Thursday, August 30 at 4:00 p.m. in Ackley Hall to officially welcome the beginning of the academic year. The event will be streamed live through Green Mountain College’s official Facebook page.
We are honored to have Dr. François Scarborough Clemmons speak at Convocation. Dr. Clemmons is a singer, actor, playwright and university lecturer. He is perhaps best known for his appearances as “Officer Clemmons” on the PBS television series Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood from 1968 to 1993. For 25 years, Clemmons performed as the friendly neighborhood policeman on the children’s television show Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. He was one of the first African Americans to have a recurring role on a kids’ TV series and has been described as a ground-breaking message in race relations.
In the late 1980s, Dr. Clemmons had an experience singing spirituals with a friend that left him profoundly moved. The experience led him away from operatic performance toward an earlier love: traditional spirituals:
When he was unable to find a musical group like the one he envisioned, Dr. Clemmons decided to create one: The Harlem Spiritual Ensemble was dedicated to preserving the American Negro Spiritual.
From 1997 until his retirement in 2013, Dr. Clemmons was the Alexander Twilight Artist in Residence and director of the Martin Luther King Spiritual Choir at Middlebury College. He “played the role of professor, choirmaster, resident vocal soloist, advisor, confidant, and community cheerleader.” He is also well known in the Middlebury community for his superb rendition of the Star Spangled Banner, which he sings at the Middlebury College men’s basketball games.
Dr. Clemmons actively writes across genres for a variety of age groups. Currently, he is writing his autobiography entitled DivaMan: My Life in Song, a children’s story entitled ButterCup and the Majic Cane, and a volume of poetry entitled A Place Of My Own.