Alumnus Spotlight: Eliot Engel

Alumnus Spotlight: Eliot Engel (Lehman College – NY Alpha Mu) recently completed a long and distinguished career in politics as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from New York. You can watch brother Engel’s full farewell speech here: Representative Eliot Engel Farewell Speech | (

Regardless of political opinions and affiliations, we would like to take the time to recognize Brother Engel for his years of service and dedication to our country. From serving in congress for 32 years, to chairing the Foreign Affairs Committee, Engel has proved himself a public servant. We thank him for working to make our country a better place. In his farewell speech, he shared the following:

“We [members of Congress] don’t always agree. We’ve had heated debates in this chamber over war powers, weapons sales, and more. But when we debate, we debate on the merits of a policy, then we cast our votes. Immediately after, we get back to working together toward policies that leave politics at the water’s edge.”

He continued

“…I’ve always thought it was important to cultivate relationships with my Republican colleagues.

I may disagree with someone on 95 percent of policy questions. But if you don’t know a person, you don’t stand a chance of finding that five percent in common and trying to build on it. If you don’t know a person, it’s so much easier to dismiss his or her motives, and that’s really where things start to fall apart.”

In his speech Brother Engel also notes his experiences growing up in the Bronx in public housing and being from an immigrant family. He goes on to speak about his fascination with the United States place on the global stage. Engel states; “all four of my grandparents were immigrants, jewish immigrants, from what is now the Ukraine; who fled the progroms of the early 20th century looking for safe haven and opportunity, and guess what? They found it in America…. This country has been a refuge for people who have been hurting for many, many years, and I am grateful for it”. 

We appreciate the words and work of Brother Engel and can hear the spirit of our Creed within his comments. Congratulations Brother Engel on a long and distinguished career in the United State House of Representatives, and thank you again for trying to make the state of New York and our country a better place.

It’s also worth noting that it was Engel who nominated the late John Lewis to receive Pi Lambda Phi’s Humanitarian Award back in 1998.