Student Spotlight

A 40-year path to a bachelor’s degree: Meet Manny Mestas

April 14, 2016 by Brandman University

Manny Mestas is a well-known musician and performer along the Central Coast. He’s a natural musician, but, as a dyslexic he struggled with school. Brandman University in Santa Maria worked with him to achieve a degree in spite of his learning disorder. His 40-year struggle with college is about to end, thanks to the support services, staff and faculty at Brandman. He’s also one of the first recipients of the new Alumni Scholarship.


Manny: I have to keep pinching myself, is this really, is this happening to me?

Narrator: Manny Mestas is a well-known musician and performer along the Central Coast. He’s a natural guitarist, but, as a dyslexic he struggled with school.

Manny: And it was really like a chokehold on my progress and grades. I started in ’76, I was expecting to graduate in four years… in 1976! And it just… I ran into all kinds of hurdles.

Narrator: Manny gave up forty years ago, but he’s back at Brandman University’s Santa Maria campus.

Manny: This is my my Hail Mary pass.

Narrator: Manny enrolled after he was passed over for a job in music therapy. While his skills as a musician speak for themselves… he didn’t have a degree.

Manny: And when I couldn’t get through that door it just stuck in my craw.

Narrator: Brandman worked with Manny, tailoring his education to work with his learning disorder.

Manny: You’ll get everything you need to be successful, and that’s really hard because I’ve gone to four other colleges and I can’t say that about them. In my case I crashed and burned… lots. And I… there was no one there, but here, a lot of support and quality, I mean these people really care.

Narrator: Manny is majoring in sociology and planning to go into hospice music therapy and social work. His goals are about to be achieved. His 40 year struggle with school is about to end, thanks to the staff and faculty at Brandman.

Narrator: So I started in 1976, here we are 2016. It’s forty years exactly, and I’m going to walk through the graduation line this semester.

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