The most important lesson Duc Nguyen learned at Winona State University was about failure—more specifically, how a person can learn and grow from failure.

“It took me a bit longer to learn this, but failure is not the end. Failure can only spawn two things—opportunity and character.”

Nguyen, who will graduate with degrees in Business Administration and Human Resources Management, has been selected to speak at the 12:30 p.m. Commencement ceremony, which will feature the College of Science and Engineering and the College of Business.

The Mounds View, Minn., resident ended up at WSU by chance after a friend convinced him to apply. The scenic drive to Winona left an impression on Nguyen, and his experience of the campus atmosphere sealed the deal.

“Once I got to the WSU, I saw the small class size and everyone looking so busy—I loved that,” he recalled. “I chose WSU because everyone looked like they had a purpose while on campus.”

That sense of purpose drove Nguyen, a first-generation college student, to get involved on campus. He joined the co-ed professional business fraternity, Pi Sigma Epsilon – Zeta Omicron chapter at WSU and held roles as both director of new members and as vice president of human resources. He was elected treasurer of the WSU Student Senate. And he describes himself as a “proud, active member of the WSU Tennis Club.”

“Most students I know on campus are competition champions, student leaders, athletes, scholarship recipients,” Nguyen said. “I am constantly in company of people who can challenge me to be better.”

WSU faculty also pushed Nguyen to strive for more, meeting with him one-on-one to discuss concerns, achievements, opportunities in the field and future plans.

“[They] helped me make life-changing decisions,” he said.

Nguyen is confident that his time at WSU helped him advance both personally and professionally.

“When I wear my Winona State University cap and gown, I will know that I am much better for it,” he said.

WSU Spring Commencement Ceremonies will be at 9 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 4 p.m. Friday, May 5, in McCown Gymnasium. The 9 a.m. ceremony will feature the College of Education and the College of Liberal Arts. The 12:30 p.m. ceremony will feature the College of Business and the College of Science and Engineering. The 4 p.m. ceremony will feature the College of Nursing and Health Sciences. For more information on commencement, visit

For more information, contact University Communications at 507-457-5024.