Jesuit High School's annual Veterans Day celebration on Friday (Nov. 10) featured a wonderful Convocation by West Point alumnus and 7-Eleven, Inc. Chief Merchandising Officer Jesus Delgado-Jenkins '82, who also guest-lectured in Jesuit's AP Economics and Honors Economics classes.
With many other veterans in attendance - Jesuit alumni, parents, and grandparents who have served in the military - along with several classmates from 1982, Delgado-Jenkins shared parts of his amazing life story.
His mother was pregnant with him when she and his father escaped Cuba on a small boat in 1963, and his father, Humberto, taught at Jesuit from 1974-89.
Delgado-Jenkins also spoke about the impact of service and the Jesuit motto 'Men for Others.'
"It is extremely important we honor and support our women and men in uniform, as they represent a fundamental force of volunteers that made the choice to defend our nation and freedoms,'' Delgado-Jenkins said. "And they do this, and have done this, with the knowledge that on any given day they will get the order to go (into combat)."
After graduating from Jesuit, Delgado-Jenkins received an appointment to attend the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. He earned a bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering, and joined the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Delgado-Jenkins trained at Ft. Belvoir in Virginia, and then was stationed in Baumholder, West Germany, where he served with the 293rd Engineer Combat Battalion, leading construction projects, building communications facilities, and paving new runways for fighter aircraft. He led several platoons and finished his tour as Executive Officer of the 293rd Headquarters company.
"There are many ways to give back, and for me it was to go into military service," Delgado-Jenkins said. "Today, I feel a humble affiliation with all of the men and women who have served."
He returned to the U.S. and continued to serve in the reserves until 1999, when he retired as a Captain. He also continued his education, earning an MBA from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management.
Delgado-Jenkins is currently the Executive VP and CMO for 7-Eleven, a 90-year old company that is the largest convenience store chain in the world. He is responsible for 7-Eleven's merchandising operations, category management, new product introduction, new category and profit center development, store sets, marketing, and merchandise communications.
Each year, a Jesuit alumnus with a military background addresses the student body on Veterans Day. Last year it was Mike Petters '77, CEO of Huntington Ingalls in Newport News, Va. In 2015, it was Lt. Col. Lucien Campillo ’88, and in 2014, it was Bruce Czaja ’85.
The past two years, the Veterans Day Convocation also has featured the University of South Florida's Air Force ROTC Color Guard.
Jesus Delgado-Jenkins '82 (3rd from left) with (L-R) Frank Llende '82, Robert Keesler '82, (Delgado-Jenkins), Rob Young '82, Jerry Rodriguez Jr. '84, and Andrew Diaz '82.
Delgado-Jenkins guest-lectured two economics classes after speaking in Convocation on Friday.