By Tara Guaimano
There was something particularly fresh about Champagnat Hall in 1982.
“The Champagnat Freshmen” was a term coined by the freshmen class of 1982—defining a new era as the first freshmen to occupy the dorm that had only housed upperclassmen prior. The coining of this term included the concurrently fresh mind of Marist’s newest member of the Board of Trustees, CBS News producer and long-time television professional, Alvin Patrick.
Patrick graduated Marist in 1986 with a B.A. in communications, citing the undying charm within his undergraduate experience at the college. “The campus is beautiful now, but it really was then as well,” he said. “The Hudson River was always a magical backdrop.”
Such a ‘freshness’ is preserved in Patrick’s entrance to the board, as he is due to enter his 30th year in television with the start of 2018. “I’ve really had a wonderful career, and I’m still in the middle of it,” he said.
Patrick currently works as the Specials Producer for CBS where he works on high profile stories with CBS News Special Correspondent James Brown for 60 Minutes, CBS Evening News, Sunday Morning, CBS This Morning, and 60 Minutes Sports on Showtime.
“I’ve covered it all—from presidential elections to Olympics, from Super Bowls to tragedies,” he said.
Directly after earning his graduate degree as a Master of Fine Arts in Television Production at Brooklyn College, Patrick got his first gig with Local Channel 5 in New York. He describes his “big break” having been held with ABC News/Sports.
Before joining CBS, Patrick was a Senior Producer for The Daily, News Corporation’s digital news magazine, as he has produced news and sports during his career at ABC, CBS, ESPN, HBO, and MTV.
While working with MTV, Patrick began his series of strides to “give back” to the college, as he piloted bringing MTVU (MTV ‘University’) to Marist in 2001. “I remember getting the same feeling when I returned then,” he said.
He explained his personal awe and particular draw to Marist after his undergraduate years have forgone, catalyzing his desire to keep coming back. “It is the hallmark of Marist—that collegiality of everybody.”
Patrick attributes a great deal of his personal growth to his undergraduate involvement at Marist, as he served on the Executive Board of the Black Student Union (BSU) and as a member of the “Progressive Coalition” on campus. He marched on campus and through Poughkeepsie with the group, protesting the South African government’s acts of institutionalized racism at the time.
Since then, Patrick’s self-proclaimed former “rabble rouser” attributes have led him to receive six National Association of Black Journalists Awards. He has also received six National Emmy award nominations, a Gabriel Award and a Freddie Award, and a shared Edward R. Murrow Award with his colleagues at CBS News.
“I was really a part of the fabric of the college,” he said. He also served as a writer for the Marist Circle, a DJ at their ‘WMCR’ radio station, and member of MCTV. “I had a great time.”
“I have an affection for Marist because of how I feel that it has kept its moral compass as it has grown,” said Patrick.
Patrick has been a member of the Communication Advisory Board for 15 years now, as he also received the Distinguished Alumni Medal—the highest award given to a Marist graduate.
"Alvin is a great addition to the Marist Board,” said President David Yellen. “He brings valuable perspectives both as a dedicated alumnus and as a veteran of broadcast and cable television.”
Yellen holds confidence in Patrick’s vast field experience and ability to contribute to the values of the college. “I know the Board will only be strengthened by the ideas and experience he brings to the table,” he said.
Patrick claims that his consistent love and respect for the college has preserved and further catalyzed his desire to contribute to its growth, specifically citing the constant changes in modern communication.
“I have stayed engaged with the college all these years,” said Patrick. “I really do feel that Marist is one of the few institutions that has done a great job with keeping their core culture while still growing exponentially.”