Higher education institutions and lifelong learning opportunities offer important skills and knowledge for developing the complex, sustainable, and integrated solutions that the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) require. Utilizing interview data from a retrospective study of 14 African alumni of a US public land-grant institution, this research explores alumni's lived experiences to understand how their graduate education contributed to post-graduate civic engagement activities that are aligned with the SDGs. Each individual's social, civic, and political experiences are mapped along a spectrum of political and civic engagement to provide a foundation for drawing out the types of capacities developed. We contend that developing greater capacity for civic engagement may contribute to sustainable development as outlined in SDG 4.7. Findings indicate that while alumni experiences varied, the majority of alumni had greater engagement post-degree. Core capacities developed among alumni, which may have contributed to this engagement, include researchers' empowerment through development of hard and soft skills, expanded networks, and enhanced confidence for graduate students both intrinsically and because of the credential they achieved.