Raised by a single mother, Patrick was recruited by A Better Chance, a Boston-based program that helps match talented inner-city students with prep schools willing to help them. In 1970, Patrick set off for Milton Academy. "I remember coming down Centre Street and there was the campus spread out. I had never seen so much privately owned lawn in my life," he said.
The materials he received from the school specified that students wear jackets at dinner. His grandmother took that to mean a windbreaker.
"That first night, the other students were putting on their corduroy and tweed blazers, and I was there in my windbreaker," he recalled.
Some faculty members and parents of other students took him under their wing, offering support and encouragement.
Especially important were the late A.O. Smith, an English teacher, and Smith's wife, Aubrey, Patrick said. "He was central to my life. There isn't a day goes by that I don't think about him."