Delgado Honors Founder, Isaac Delgado, on 179th Anniversary of Birth

November 20, 2018

Isaac Delgado, the bachelor businessman and philanthropist whose bequest to the City of New Orleans established the school that became Delgado Community College, was born in Kingston, Jamaica on Nov. 23, 1839. Of Sephardic Jewish descent, he migrated to New Orleans as a boy to work with an uncle in the sugar industry, and in time he became a pillar of the city’s business community and a respected member of society.

By the day he passed away in 1912, Delgado had amassed a fortune as a sugar broker, and his estate funded not only the establishment of the Isaac Delgado Central Trades School, now Delgado Community College, but also the establishment of the New Orleans Museum of Art and an expansion of Charity Hospital.

The Delgado Trades School opened in 1921 and became a technical college in the 1950s, then a comprehensive community college in 1966. In 1970, ownership of the college passed from the city to the State of Louisiana. Accreditation by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools came in 1971. Today, Delgado is the largest college in the state and is second in total enrollment only to Louisiana State University.

Every year in the week of Isaac Delgado’s birthday, the college honors his memory and legacy with a ceremonial visit to his tomb in Metairie Cemetery. Flowers are placed at the tomb and words of appreciation and gratitude are spoken.

This year, the ceremonial visit took place on Monday, Nov. 19. Officers of the Delgado Community College Alumni Association joined with Delgado Institutional Advancement staff members and Delgado Chancellor William Wainwright to visit the tomb.

“Founder’s Day has always been a day to reflect on the college’s mission and the legacy that Mr. Delgado left behind,” said Wainwright in his message to the college community. “I have every confidence based on the history of this great institution and the power of education that Mr. Delgado would be proud of the demonstrated resilience and strength of the students and the people of Delgado past and present. Each of you play a significant role in carrying forward the legacy of Mr. Isaac Delgado.”

Delgado faculty and staff pose in front of Isaac Delgado's grave in celebration of Founder's Day.
Honoring Isaac Delgado, founder of Delgado Community College, on the 179th anniversary of his birth: from left, Tyler Scheuermann, Michael Toups, Chancellor William Wainwright, Leslie Salinero, Koren E. Thornton, Jeannie Brown, Elaine Broussard, Tony Cook and Kenya Jackson.

Delgado Community College will celebrate 100 years of service to the New Orleans region in 2021. The oldest and largest community college in Louisiana, Delgado provides instruction online and at seven locations. Fully accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Delgado offers students the most comprehensive array of education and training services available in the 10-parish New Orleans region. Additionally, Delgado has articulation agreements with most of the state’s four-year colleges and universities that allow students to transfer their Delgado credits to bachelor’s degree programs. As well as offering degrees and transferable college credits, Delgado provides diplomas and certificates in many professional and technical areas. Workforce development is a priority at Delgado, hence the college’s motto: “Education that works!”