Inside USD

Valedictorian Success

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

It is clear that the past four years were but a chapter in a much larger tale for University of San Diego’s valedictorians of the College of Arts and Sciences and the School of Business Administration. A pair of California men, Milan Brandon of Elfin Forest (SBA) and Concord’s William Tressel (CAS), each achieved a 3.99 grade-point average and they will receive a bachelor’s degree in Economics and Mathematics, respectively, on May 26.

Aside from having identical near-perfect GPAs the two share a couple more similarities. They both developed their skills and networks as Boy Scouts before enrolling at USD and both members of the prestigious Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society.

As the fourth Brandon to graduate from USD (behind Mark, Donald and Christie) Milan has accomplished quite a bit. Upon arrival he was designated as a USD Trustee Scholar and has gone on to receive several academic awards, hold various internships, serve as president of the Economics Council, compete on a student team that finished third in USC’s 2012 International Real Estate Case Competition, and captained USD’s inaugural team at the National Intercollegiate Mediation Tournament at Breneau University in Gainesville, Ga., to a third-place finish.

When asked what he learned in his time at USD outside of the classroom, Milan Brandon (pictured, left) said, “USD has taught me further lessons simply by being a member of its amazing community. As a student leader I learned of the powerful confidence one imparts on others simply by sincerely believing in their abilities. Learning to listen intently before speaking myself, and to consider and appreciate the insights given, is an important lesson that will take a lifetime of practice to fully master. However, it is one that USD, more so than any other university that comes to mind, has provided an opportunity to nurture. And that is because USD, for all its beauty, academic rigor and ambition, remains a community first and an institution second — a place where individuals matter and the lessons we learn run far deeper than the scratch of a pen across paper.”

Tressel’s career at USD is nothing short of impressive, too. During his time, he was recipient of the Bishop Maher Catholic Leadership Scholarship and earned departmental honors in mathematics. He took part in several undergraduate science conferences and was a member of an award-winning team in the poster presentations for the applied mathematics section of the 2012 National Conference of the Society for Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science. Tressel (pictured, at right) was also a tutor in the Math Center, participated in University Ministry’s Tijuana Spring Breakthrough service and immersion trips, and was a member of the UM, Students for Life, and Founders Club.

When asked what he learned in his time at USD outside of the classroom, he responded, “I have learned to always ask questions whenever I am unsure, to listen for answers, even if they don’t come to me the way I expect. I have also learned to be grateful for all of the blessings in my life. Above all, I have learned that true friends are always there for me when I need them most.”

The future looks bright for both valedictorians. Brandon will attend University of Southern California’s Gould School of Law with an emphasis in Real Estate or Corporate Law, and Tressel is attending the University of Washington in pursuit of a PhD in BioStatistics.

— Kevin Wright ‘13

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