Being diagnosed with a heart condition that required open heart surgery when he was a high school junior transformed University of St. Thomas student Brayden LeLoup ’25. As an active member of his high school’s tennis and mountain biking teams, he was devastated when doctors told him he may never play sports again.
Fortunately for LeLoup, the successful surgery he underwent meant that he still was able to pursue athletics.
“Getting a second chance in everything really gives you a different outlook on life,” LeLoup said with a pause and a determined look on his face. “That has helped push me as well to just make the most of everything and be involved.”
LeLoup has taken full advantage of the leadership development opportunities available at St. Thomas.
He’s the Club Rowing president, marketing and membership coordinator for the Real Estate Society, and active in Finance Club. LeLoup also is a licensed real estate agent.
How does the real estate and financial management major find time for everything?
“I use my calendar a lot,” LeLoup joked.
In Club Rowing, he said he found “a group of people who have shared goals and work together to achieve those goals and make themselves better.”
Club Rowing, founded in 1967, is one of the oldest clubs on campus. The club competes nationally in regattas throughout the year, including the Head of the Charles Regatta in Boston and Dad Vail Regatta in Philadelphia. At home, the team practices out of the Minnesota Boat Club, located on Raspberry Island.
Across all his interactions through the various activities, LeLoup embraces a culture of encounter. He said that it’s important to him to not only be passionate in his endeavors, but also to treat people with care.
As a student leader, LeLoup said he understands that everyone comes from different circumstances and has different ways of contributing to a team or an organization.
“People are not always going to want to do exactly what you want to do,” he said. “Cooperation is important – working with the team around you and using their experience as well in making decisions.”
LeLoup also values mentorship. Having been a mentee at St. Thomas, he now serves as a mentor in the Business Undergraduate Mentorship Program. LeLoup also is involved in a real estate mentorship program offered by Opus College of Business.
“There’s a ton of opportunity at St. Thomas,” LeLoup said. “’The people you meet and the experiences you have outside of the classroom are really what makes the St. Thomas experience.”
To his fellow Tommies, LeLoup recommends learning through experience.
“Try things. Fail at things,” he said. “Ask people for advice … that gives you an opportunity to learn from people’s mistakes and failures.”