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Kathleen Hochul

'80 BA (PSc)
Lieutenant Governor
New York State

Kathy Hochul, a former U.S. Congresswoman who represented New York's 26th Congressional District from 2011 to 2013, has been elected lieutenant governor of New York. Hochul was nominated by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo to serve as his running mate in the state's gubernatorial elections this fall. The lieutenant governor was head of Government & Strategic Relations for M&T Bank at the time of her nomination. (For more on her selection, see this Buffalo News article .)

Hochul decided to attend Syracuse University as a political science major in 1976. The Congresswoman was on a trip around the northeast to look at colleges, and as they were spending time in Syracuse her father noted that it seemed like a school "where someone could become a congressperson."  The caliber of the education, the extent of the alumni network, the outstanding reputation, and the broad real-world applications all drove her to apply. She was "thrilled" to be accepted. 

She entered the university in the Fall of 1976, a presidential year. This was one of the many factors that led her to engage in debates and hone public speaking skills. One of the highlights while at school was an experience as vice-president of student government. According to Hochul, she had never pictured herself as an elected official, but "when opportunities arise you have to seize them; you have to learn to take risks." With Maxwell students, she said, you have the complete package.

She took many engaging courses within the Political Science Department at Maxwell, including Modern American Politics, Russian Politics, and Constitutional Law with Michael Sawyer. She said this class in particular changed the way she thought about and analyzed problems.

Her advice for those considering Maxwell? "It is an exceptional program; the caliber of the people is extraordinary. Many become leaders in their fields with long-lasting relationships." In fact, while at school, Hochul befriended a staffer at the Daily Orange and student at the S.I. Newhouse School for Communications, and continues to interact with him today, as he has gone on to become a political reporter with the Buffalo News.