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Former ABC executive to speak at Rockford College commencement

Friday, April 16, 2010  
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For immediate release – 5/16/10
Contact: Chuck Brown, Communications, 815-226-3374

Mark Pedowitz, the former head of ABC Studios under whose leadership such shows as "Lost,” "Desperate Housewives” and "Grey’s Anatomy” were created, was the keynote speaker at Rockford College’s commencement this afternoon at the Coronado Theatre. 

Degrees were awarded to 407 students from 16 states and seven countries. There were 224 baccalaureate degrees awarded, along with 157 MAT and 26 MBA degrees. Honorary degrees were given to Pedowitz and to Ray Wood, president of the college’s board of trustees. 

Pedowitz, a 1974 Rockford College graduate, recently left parent company Disney-ABC to pursue a deal with Warner Bros. TV to produce shows through his own production company, Pine Street Entertainment.

During his 19 years with Disney-ABC, Pedowitz held a variety of positions. He joined ABC in 1991 as senior vice president, where he negotiated agreements to acquire programming across the network. He headed the department in 1996 and was promoted in 1999 to executive vice president, ABC Entertainment Television Group, where he oversaw all business for ABC Primetime and Touchstone Television, as well as affairs for ABC Daytime.

Other shows created under his watch included "Ugly Betty,” "Scrubs,” "Criminal Minds,” "Brothers & Sisters,” "According to Jim,” "Ghost Whisperer,” "Private Practice,” "Flash Forward,” and "Cougar Town.”

Most recently, Pedowitz had served as senior advisor to the co-chair of Disney-Media networks and Disney/ABC Television Group, where he was involved in evolving business, labor relations, and emerging media issues. He currently sits on the board of directors for BMI and the board of the Foundation for the Academy of Arts & Sciences.

Pedowitz has been active in Rockford College alumni activities and earned an alumni award of distinction in 2009.

Also at the commencement, retiring faculty members Christine Bruun, psychology, and Phil Hjemboe, library, were granted emeritus status. For the first time, the event was streamed live on the college’s Web site.                                                      

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