Law graduate receives school's top honor

Jose Delgado, nicknamed “Robo” by many of his classmates for his robotic adherence to schedule, organization and hard work, will graduate first in his class from the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University, with a 4.06 GPA.

At the College of Law Convocation, he will receive the John S. Armstrong Award, the law school’s top honor, established by the Armstrong family to honor the Arizona legislator who introduced the bill that established Arizona's first institution of higher learning, the Tempe Normal School.

“Jose is an amazing student with all the academic gifts of intellect, reason and clear articulation,” said Douglas Sylvester, the school's dean. “He also has a friendly, engaging personality that makes him an instant colleague. We're very proud of his accomplishments here at the College of Law.”

Just because Delgado’s a robot, don’t think he’s an isolated bookworm. He also works hard to be well rounded, playing in a regular pick-up basketball game, spending time with friends, and traveling the globe.

Delgado grew up in Whitefish, Mont., where his mother taught fourth grade and his father was the high school physical education and health teacher, coaching baseball, basketball and tennis. Delgado was the unofficial team mascot as a child, and played varsity basketball and tennis in high school. He constantly tagged along with his big brother as they enjoyed the Montana wilderness, hiking, waterskiing, hunting and fly-fishing.

When he left for college, Delgado thought he might be a sports agent.

“I thought I wanted to be the next Jerry Maguire,” Delgado said, referring to the driven sports agent in the movie. He spent a summer interning in Cleveland, Ohio, at IMG Worldwide, the global sports, fashion and media business, where he enjoyed his experience but eventually decided the competitive treadmill of being a sports agent wasn’t exactly what he wanted.

That job led to another job, in sales, with the Phoenix Suns. And Delgado, who graduated summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in marketing and communications from ASU’s W. P. Carey School of Business, excelled, moving from inside sales to group sales to premium and suite sales.

Delgado was accepted to the University of Miami School of Law, but chose the College of Law because it offered him financial help, he could remain close to his friends and mentors in Phoenix, and he could continue to work part time for the Suns. Since January, he has worked with the Arizona Diamondbacks in their legal department as well.

Jumping into law school wasn’t easy for Delgado and he remembered frequently calling home to say, “I’m pretty sure I just failed that exam.” But, of course, he was wrong.

Success, Delgado said, required setting goals and figuring out how to achieve them.

He did it by planning each day with a hand-drawn grid on a yellow legal pad, personal tasks on one side, school and work on the other, a little trick he picked up from one of his mentors at IMG.

He never missed a class (“There’s too much to learn.”), always did the readings, and put together a small study group “with people way smarter than me.”

He worked on the Arizona State Law Journal, with the Hispanic National Bar Association’s mentoring program, as a research and teaching assistant, and was a member of the Sports and Entertainment Law Students’ Association and the Chicano/Latino Law Student Association.

He did summer internships at two major law firms, Perkins Coie, which solidified his focus on transactional work with a healthy dose of pro bono, and Osborn Maledon, where he has accepted a position starting after graduation, and will work in the corporate/business group and “focus on becoming a good attorney.”