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NBC 10 Anchor Patrice Wood to Deliver Commencement Address at RWU

Dr. Pablo Rodriguez will receive honorary degree during May 20 ceremony
NBC 10 reporter Patrice Wood will be the keynote speaker and receive an honorary degree at Roger Williams University's Commencement ceremony on May 20.

BRISTOL, R.I. ­­– NBC 10 anchor Patrice Wood will deliver the commencement address at the Roger Williams University graduation ceremony on Saturday, May 20.

Wood, who has been delivering the news at Channel 10 (WJAR) in Rhode Island for more than 37 years, will be joined at the graduation ceremony by her husband, Paul Pabis, who is receiving a master’s degree in leadership from RWU, and by her daughter, Stephanie, who is receiving a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from RWU. Wood will receive an honorary degree in communications.

The university also will confer an honorary degree to Dr. Pablo Rodriguez, chair of the Women & Infants Health Care Alliance, president and CEO of Women’s Care, former medical director of Planned Parenthood of Rhode Island, and a clinical associate professor at Brown University’s Warren Alpert Medical School.

Some 1,022 undergraduate and graduate students will take part in the 2017 Commencement exercises at the Bristol campus at One Old Ferry Road. The processional will enter a tent on RWU’s main athletic field at 9:30 a.m., and the ceremony will begin at 10 a.m.

“Many universities honor certain individuals at their commencement ceremonies by inviting them to deliver an address to the graduates or by awarding them an honorary degree — and Roger Williams University is no exception to this tradition,” RWU President Donald J. Farish said. “We think it is particularly important to recognize those who have contributed to the public good and who reflect our institutional mission of ‘strengthening society.’ This year, we honor two such individuals, well-known to many Rhode Islanders, whose life work reflects a deep and abiding commitment to making Rhode Island a better place: Patrice Wood and Dr. Pablo Rodriguez.”

Wood’s first name is Holly (yes, Holly Wood); her middle name is Patrice. She grew up on a farm in Rockford, Ohio, where she and her two sisters worked, taking care pigs and horses, driving tractors and pulling weeds out of soybean fields. Her father was a farmer and her mother was a newspaper reporter.

Following in her mother’s footsteps, Wood studied journalism, receiving a bachelor’s degree from Bowling Green State University. She worked as a news anchor/reporter for WDHO-TV in Toledo, Ohio, and held several news positions with WBGU-TV in Bowling Green, Ohio.

Wood joined NBC 10 in 1980. In addition to anchoring the 5, 6 and 11 o’clock news, she’s also known for her weekly “Tuesday's Child” reports, which feature children in state care who need permanent homes. Those reports have resulted in numerous children being matched with adoptive families. She has received many volunteer and professional awards, including the prestigious Silver Circle award from the New England Association of Television Arts and Sciences and the Congressional Angels in Adoption Award.

Rodriguez is a well-known community leader and active participant in civic and charitable organizations, both locally and nationally. He is past chair of the Association of Reproductive Health Professionals, the Rhode Island Foundation, the International Institute of RI, the Rhode Island Latino Political Action Committee, RI Project AIDS and the Democracy Compact. He led a $1.5 million capital campaign to benefit Progreso Latino, the leading social service agency for new immigrants. He was involved in the Health Care Reform Commission, which was in charge of drafting the RIte Care legislation in Rhode Island. And he was chair of the Minority Health Advisory Committee and the Minority AIDS Taskforce.

Rodriguez has received many awards for his community involvement, including the Community Service Award from the American Medical Association in 1994 and Planned Parenthood of RI in 1996. The John Hope Settlement House gave him their highest honor, the Paris Vaughn Sterett Award for community service, and the Ministers Alliance gave him with the Martin Luther King Service Award. Providence Mayor Jorge O. Elorza has called him the inspiring force behind the creation of the Latino Policy Institute at RWU, which Elorza co-founded. Also, he is a host of radio and television programs. He co-founded and serves as chairman and CEO of 1290-AM, Latino Public Radio.