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Padilla-Rodriguez to be honored as 2017 Woerner Kollmorgen Award recipient


ROCHESTER -- Nazareth College is pleased to honor Nydia Padilla-Rodriguez as the recipient of the 2017 Woerner Kollmorgen Award for Community Service. The award, now in its 10th year, recognizes individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the community, thereby improving the quality of life in the greater Rochester area.

Honorees demonstrate a dedication to the values espoused by Nazareth College: a concern for and commitment to underserved individuals; ethical personal and professional behavior; leadership; and living a life of meaning. Padilla-Rodriguez will be honored during the ceremony at Nazareth College from 8-10 a.m. April 27.

Padilla-Rodriguez is the director of Community Partnerships for the Rochester City School District. During her 35-year career in education, community advocacy and dance, she has worked with thousands of youth to create and help them gain access to life-building opportunities in the arts, academics, culture and leadership development.

Creating and advocating for opportunities are skills she developed while growing up as the middle child in a family of 11 children. She acquired her certificate degree in educational administration, master's degree in education and bachelor's degrees in elementary education and dance at Brockport State University. She began her career at Action For A Better Community working with adults teaching math and science where several adults were hired as bilingual nurse's aides; and also worked at United Way of Greater Rochester as associate planning director; Monroe County Affirmative Action as office coordinator; and the Rochester City School District while working part-time at Hochstein School of Music & Dance.

Padilla-Rodriguez has volunteered for many community organizations over the last 35 years that include (but not limited to): Memorial Art Gallery Hispanic Family Day, ABC Project Unique, Leadership Rochester, Wilson Commencement Park, WDKX Women's Conference Planning Committee, Ibero Hispanic Scholars, United Way Hispanic Leadership Development Program, Soy Unica, Soy Latina Planning Committee, Facing Race and Equity, Rochester Science & Museum Archives Project, and recently - Do the Right Thing Program, La Cumbre and Rochester Broadway League Education Committee.

She is a firm believer in leadership by example as she has an extensive list of both professional and community accomplishments over the years (not limited to):
  • She is an original member of the world-renowned Garth Fagan Dance Company (formerly known as Bottom of the Bucket, But!)
  • She served on the Rochester Children's Zone Steering Committee that developed a comprehensive strategic plan of community needs with a focus in the crescent of the City of Rochester
  • She is a founding member of the "Go Green Scholarship Fund" to support RCSD students engaged in golf
  • She is the founding member of the former Rochester "PENCIL Program" (Public Education Needs Civic Engagement in Learning) first time in the history of RCSD to engage over 100 businesses with our schools to provide in-kind services
  • She is a founding member of Latinas Unidas
  • She served on the joint County/City Commission studying the need for a world class performing arts center to be built in Rochester New York;
  • She is a founding member of the United Way Hispanic Leadership Development Program; co-founder of the Hispanic Consortium on Education
  • She is a founding member of the Red Cross Middle & High School Hispanic Leadership Development Programs merged into a high school leadership development program
  • She raised $20,000 for 10 males & 10 females from James Madison Middle school to attend the International Basketball tournament in Rennes, France, whereby one female received the "Most Valuable Player Award" placing Rochester on the map.
  • She Championed the RCSD UW Campaign raising over $285,000 for two years.
  • She is the Founder and Artistic Director of the first Hispanic performing art group in Upstate New York, Borinquen Dance Theatre (BDT), Inc. serving over 1000 of youth. Two BDT students were awarded a scholarship to attend the World renowned Ballet Hispanico School of the Arts. One dancer was accepted as a former Garth Fagan Dance member.
  • She also teaches Caribbean Class for children at Hochstein School in collaboration with BDT since 1985.
  • BDT was also recognized at the National level for having a unique after school program in the arts designed for youth and a semi finalists for the "Coming Up Taller Award"
  • BDT recognized as part of New York State Archives as a distinguished performing Art Group in Upstate New York
Padilla-Rodriguez continues to devote her time and energy to young people through her endless hours of work and leadership.

The Nazareth College Woerner Kollmorgen award is made possible by a donation from Don H. Kollmorgen and Louise Woerner. It was founded in 2007. Previous recipients of the award include Naomi Silver, Dr. Richard Constantino, Gary Rogers, Dr. Walter Cooper, Bob Wayland-Smith, J. Christine Wilson, Justin L. Vigdor, Thomas J. Cray, and Dr. T. Franklin Williams and Carter Catlett Williams.

LOUISE WOERNER is the founder, chairwoman, and CEO of HCR Home Care, a Medicare-certified home health care agency that serves 22 counties across New York. The agency's non-profit HCR Cares conducts research and educational activities related to independent living. Her dedicated work has earned her many honors, including the Presidential Award for Entrepreneurial Excellence and induction into the Rochester Business Hall of Fame. Her work to advance nursing includes founding the Friends of the National Institute of Nursing Research. She was the first non-nurse to be inducted into the American Academy of Nursing.

DON H. KOLLMORGEN has dedicated his life to public and community service. Over the past 37 years, he has held leadership positions at the U.S. Public Health Service, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and the National Institutes of Health. Committed to improving the quality of life in the communities in which he lives, he is the founder of the American Chestnut Land Trust, was appointed by former Governor George Pataki to the board of visitors at the Industry School, serves as a trustee at the Strong National Museum of Play, and was a member of the Nazareth College board of trustees from 2007 to 2012.