One of the nearly 400 guests at a lecture at Heidelberg University Friday evening was not like the others.
"Elmo, how did you get here?" asked Carol-Lynn Parente, executive producer for "Sesame Street."
Elmo, whose voice is provided by Kevin Clash, joked about how being in her luggage wasn't comfortable and how he was at Heidelberg to "matriculate."
"Go Heidelberg. Go Heidelberg," he said.
"You are really excited to be here, aren't you?" Parente asked him.
Parente was referring to Heidelberg's Seiberling Gymnasium, which hosted the third installment of The Patricia Adams Lecture Series.
The series is named for the wife of John Adams Sr., a Heidelberg graduate and member of the board of trustees. Patricia has said the lecture series will bring to campus outstanding female speakers from a broad spectrum of personal and professional backgrounds.
"This is a very special event. ... (John and Patricia) are two wonderful people," Provost David Weininger said.
"Sesame Street" is to open its 42nd season next month, according to Heidelberg's website.
Parente said Joan Cooney, founder of "Sesame Street," created content at the intersection of media and education. "Sesame Street" started after a question at a dinner party: "Do you think television could be used to teach?"
"Joan signed up to lead the research project," she said.
Parente, who is from New Jersey and is donating $8,000 to the lecture series, has worked with "Sesame Street" for nearly 25 years. She has served as a post production assistant, a production assistant, post-production coordinator and associate producer and has managed the animation and post-production processes of "Elmo's World" segments, according to the website.
"It's just an amazing, amazing institution to be a part of," she said.
Parente said because she works with "Sesame Street," she knows she tops the list of the most fortunate women in business.
"I'm a lucky, lucky girl," she said.
A video of "Sesame Street" clips from the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, 1990s and 2000s played in the gymnasium.
"It is hard to believe they pay me for my job, isn't it?" Parente asked.
The "Sesame Street" festivities continue today, with Parente to participate in a "Literacy on the Street" workshop. There also is to be a pre-game "Sesame Street" tailgate event 12:30-2 p.m. near the football field.
There are to be photo opportunities with Elmo and the Heidelberg Student Prince mascot and activities, such as face-painting and voting for the favorite "Sesame Street" character.
The football game against Mount Union begins at 1:30 p.m., and there is no admission fee for the game. Children must be accompanied by an adult. In case of rain, the event is to be in Seiberling.
The next speaker in the series is Ann Fudge, former president of Kraft General Foods' Beverages, Desserts and Post Division and former chairman and chief executive officer of Young & Rubicam, who is to speak March 22.
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