New York Lieutenant Governor Antonio Delgado ’99 visited Colgate on March 30, part of an event hosted by the Men of Color Success Network and the Harlem Renaissance Center.
In a moderated discussion with 40 students, faculty, and staff members, Delgado shared his journey from a middle-class upbringing in Schenectady, N.Y., to Colgate and on to Harvard Law School. Before entering state politics in the 2018 midterms, Delgado worked as an attorney focusing on complex commercial litigation, while also doing pro bono work in connection with criminal justice reform.
A Rhodes Scholar who majored in political science and philosophy at Colgate, Delgado has said his entry into New York politics was inspired by the 2016 election. As a U.S. Representative serving New York’s 19th congressional district, he delivered Colgate’s commencement address in 2019. In May 2022, Delgado was appointed lieutenant governor by Governor Kathy Hochul — a position to which he was subsequently elected last November.
Dorsey Spencer, dean of students and founder of the Men of Color Success Network, said the event’s intimate setting helped Delgado’s story resonate with students.
“It isn’t daily that most of us get to interact with government leaders in such an intimate setting — particularly those who, not too long ago, were where we are currently,” says Spencer, who notes that Delgado personally introduced himself to each attendee after delivering his remarks.
Fredy Alvarado-Retana ’25, a member of the Men of Color Success Network, was inspired by Delgado’s journey. “It was great to see a man of color hold such an important position, and hearing the story about how he got there definitely inspired me to go after what I want and to make a change in the world,” he says.
In an informal question-and-answer session after Delgado’s talk, students asked candid questions about activism, social progress, and how to “find hope in a broken system,” says Spencer.
“While Lieutenant Governor Delgado gave a lot of great advice, the most valuable advice he gave was about the notion of hope in the unseen,” says Spencer. “He said there are times when we should be working to make things better, even if we will not immediately experience the progress for which we advocate.”