History Matters.

Alumni Spotlight: Peter Del Nagro (BA ’75)

Photo of Alum Peter Del Nagro.

Alum Peter Del Nagro

Currently residing in San Diego, Buffalo native Peter Del Nagro might be a long way from home, but the years he spent at UB had a life-long impact. Peter grew up in the Buffalo region and when it came time to apply for college in 1971, he considered many promising programs in the field of Archeology and Classics. Initially Peter was drawn to UB because of the highly rated Classic Department, but later he made the switch to History. When asked what motivated this change, Peter reflected that he had always enjoyed History, particularly as he always enjoyed reading. Peter pursued a course of study that explored the human experience while simultaneously building important skills such as constructing arguments, evaluating evidence and generally awakening curiosity. Peter said of his studies, “Studying history is an exercise in empathy, and I like to think that nothing human is foreign to me.”

In a conversation last spring Peter reflected on the many fond memories he had of his time as a History major and the excellent professors he studied under such as John Naylor, Melvin Tucker, Elisabeth Perry, Lewis C. Perry and Milutin Devrnja. It was the time spent in class learning from his professors that stood out most. Although, he also enjoyed going to Grateful Dead concerts.

Upon completing his BA in 1975, Peter thought he might pursue a PhD in History, but took a different path. He attended seminary at Princeton and became a Presbyterian minister. Rather than a departure from his previous studies, Peter found that his history background enhanced his learning and his later sermons. He said “Being a history major helped me in my career as a Presbyterian minister since I often felt I needed to give the historical context for a Biblical text about Jesus in my sermons.”

While Peter recently retired from the ministry, he has not stopped his journey of life-long learning. In 2019, he completed an MA in History at San Diego State. Peter hopes to return to the classroom as an educator. In addition to supporting future scholars in the classroom, Peter also contributes to the scholarship funds at UB, in particular those for History Graduate Students. Peter explained, “I appreciate all that UB and Buffalo gave me, especially the tools to keep on learning and for awakening my curiosity.”