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Former La Jolla High valedictorian and athlete continues success with honors at UCSD

Berkeley Miesfeld, one of the top students during his La Jolla High School days, has repeated that success at UC San Diego.
(Courtesy of Bart Miesfeld)

Four years after earning La Jolla High School’s top grade point average as valedictorian, Berkeley Miesfeld is continuing his La Jolla academic legacy at UC San Diego, where he graduated with honors June 12.

Miesfeld graduated Summa Cum Laude — putting him in the top 2 percent of UCSD graduates — from the university’s Thurgood Marshall College with a degree in economics and a 3.98 GPA.

He also was awarded the Economics Department’s Joel Dean Award, given to the graduating senior considered the department’s most outstanding student.

In addition to his academic prowess, Miesfeld followed his high school volleyball success (he was part of La Jolla’s first CIF San Diego Section Open Division boys volleyball championship in 2017) by playing volleyball for UCSD on scholarship.

UCSD is “the perfect match” of competitive athletics and high-level academics, he said. “Men’s volleyball is a pretty small sport in college.”

Upon his graduation, UCSD also awarded Miesfeld the Mark Appelbaum Academic Scholar-Athlete of the Year Award for earning the highest GPA of all university athletes.

Miesfeld, who lived in the UCSD dorms and then in a Del Mar house with teammates, said attending UCSD was challenging.

“It’s shocking to be on your own and learning how to live by yourself and find your identity, all while doing school,” he said. “But I think I was able to handle it well.”

As La Jolla’s graduating high school seniors threw their caps in the air this month, the campuses recognized their top students, who threw a little advice their schoolmates’ way.

Miesfeld has attended La Jolla schools all his life, starting with La Jolla Elementary and Muirlands Middle schools. He graduated from La Jolla High in 2018.

“I had the privilege of having great teachers in high school,” he said, “and I think they knew exactly how to train us to succeed in college.”

And Miesfeld isn’t leaving college just yet. He’ll continue at UCSD in the fall, beginning a master’s program in finance.

“I feel lucky to get to be in such a great place. … It’s set the bar pretty high,” he said.

Berkeley Miesfeld stands with his sister Cienna at UC San Diego's Senior Night.
Berkeley Miesfeld stands with his sister Cienna at UC San Diego’s Senior Night. Miesfeld will continue to play volleyball at UCSD next school year as a graduate student.
(Courtesy of Bart Miesfeld)

Continuing in grad school will enable Miesfeld to pursue his passion for volleyball for at least another year, giving him more time on the court after several interruptions the past few years.

His sophomore season at UCSD in 2020 was cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He returned to the court for his junior year only to contract COVID himself.

Weeks later, he tore his Achilles tendon, “which was really, really hard because I was playing really well, too,” he said.

Miesfeld worked to heal quickly but pushed himself too hard and tore the tendon a second time.

“It took me out of volleyball for a really long time,” he said. “But I got really into coaching and taking stats for … our team.”

Thirteen months after his second surgery, “I’m playing again and almost back to full scrimmage,” Miesfeld said.

“I’m excited,” he added. “I’ll still be on a team, so I’m hoping to play in some matches finally, after two years.” ◆