Gratitude is Golden

December 9, 2021

Brandon Sanders smiles at the cameraNoted educator and politician Jane Dee Hull once said, “At the end of the day, the most overwhelming key to a child’s success is the positive involvement of parents.” This quote speaks volumes and mirrors the thoughts of Brandon Sanders.

Sanders’ greatest role models in his life are his parents. He came from Stockton, California, and his parents grew up in a very different world than he did. They experienced many challenges, and their goal was to ensure that their son did not have to experience those same hardships.

“My parents always told me ‘Our job as your parents is to make sure you don't live the same life we did.’ And that is what they did.”

Sanders shares that he has no idea how they were able to give him so much. Their love was obvious in all that they did for him, and they encouraged him to always work hard for what he wanted and to always look out for others. Through their hard work and sacrifice, they ensured that their son had every opportunity, and for that he is forever grateful.

Sanders graduates with his Master’s in Communication Arts on Saturday. He is already a UIW alum, having completed a Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice with a minor in Psychology in 2019.

His path to UIW began early while playing high school football. It was his love of this sport that would drive him to first play college ball at Fresno City College before transferring to UIW to play at the division I level.

During his years at UIW, Sanders has most cherished his time with his teammates. They have become his brothers and have helped him through some rough times along the way. Their bond, both on and off the field, has been a source of strength and encouragement, and he says he will forever be thankful for their time together.

Football has been a huge part of his academic career. He played for UIW in 2018 and 2019, as well as during COVID-19, in the shortened Spring 2021 season. Sanders had the honor of playing on UIW’s first conference championship team.

“My time on the team has really shown me how to deal with adversity, whether it was individually or together as a group, and that is something that I can take with me the rest of my life,” said Sanders. “Also, being such a big student of the game, studying our coverages to be able to know each position's role, and looking over film, too, will help for my future. It gave me the practice to be able to lock in on whatever task I'll have in the future to the best of my ability.”

As he reflects on his time at UIW he remembers the lessons his parents taught him about helping others, and he hopes to leave a legacy of awareness for fellow man.

“Make sure to always look out for the people in your life,” said Sanders. “We never know what a person is going through until we ask.”

But Sanders wants to make an impact beyond his time at UIW. He plans to enter law enforcement and hopes to one day gain a role as a homicide detective so he can help people.

“My main reason for that is to be able to bring families peace by solving cases like that,” said Sanders. “But I’d also be able to be in the neighborhoods to try and make an impact on the youth. I feel that being an athlete who made it out of JuCo (Junior College) and the struggles that came along with it, I think this gives me a big chance on doing that.

“My ultimate goal is to just change a person’s life for the better, and this route is one of the best ways for me to do that.”