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Outstanding Grads of the Class of 2014: Meet Mirko Ranieri

22 May 2014

Mirko Ranieri

Mirko Ranieri, who is Berkeley City College President’s Award winner for the Class of 2014, will graduate tonight with a business administration degree. While at BCC, Mr. Ranieri turned his many economic challenges into a series of academic and career-building opportunities. The 22-year-old international student, whose second language is English, was born and raised in Italy. He has just been accepted to UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business and to Harvard University.

Mirko’s unique background had him preparing for a professional soccer career in Italy at age 16 when he was recruited by Tottenham Hotspur, an English Premier League soccer club, to train as a goalkeeper. He was required to learn English, leave his working class family in Italy, and almost failed to graduate from high school. But each night, after a full day of soccer practice, Mirko would study and in summer 2011, took his high school exams and earned his diploma. Shortly thereafter, an accident halted his soccer career forever: He collided with a player on an opposing team and broke the ligaments in his knee.

“The dream that took me out of my Italian home was shattered,” he recalled. “After extensive research, I learned that the Peralta colleges, surrounded by the Bay Area’s spirit of innovation, provided exactly what I was looking for.”

Even though there was no money for college, he enrolled at Berkeley City and budgeted his life “down to the last penny.”

“Establishing a foundation for living in America has been my hardest challenge,” he noted. But, undaunted, Mirko turned those challenges into impressive accomplishments. While at BCC, he founded the college’s Business and Finance Club; was elected president of BCC’s chapter of Phi Theta Kappa, the international community college honor students’ society and was a member of BCC’s Student Ambassador Corps. He also was and continues to be active in the National Association of Black Accountants.

He has won scholarships from the National Association of Black Accountants, the Coca-Cola Foundation, and is a finalist for the Jack Kent Cooke Transfer Scholarship.

“I was looking for a second chance at success and came here to prove myself,” he said.  “Berkeley City College and Peralta gave me everything: resources, classes, people who could help me out and give good advice about my future. They helped me to jump out of my comfort zone.”

That future will be as an entrepreneur, devising technologies that can make the world a better place.   “Dream big and be a go-getter; if you work hard, you can achieve a lot,” he advised.


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