People mispronounce her name all the time.
“My name name is Malini Wijesinghe,” said the Bradley senior tennis player.
That’s mah-lynn-knee vijay-sing-ahh.
She has a hard name to pronounce, an easy-to-like personality and hard-to-imagine resume. Wijesinghe will graduate in May with degrees in biochemistry, Spanish and philosophy.
She’ll earn those degrees in four years while playing college tennis. It doesn’t stop there.
Last year she started the BU clean-up crew. She organizes students at Bradley who volunteer to clean the streets and neighborhoods throughout Peoria.
“It’s nice to be involved in your community in Peoria in addition to your Bradley community, while you spend your four years here,” said Wijesinghe. “We get out on Friday and pick up litter.”
The Apple Valley, Minnesota native volunteers weekly with students at Peoria’s Whittier School, playing tennis with them. She also is a go-to person helping Bradley student athletes with their studies.
“She does a lot of tutoring for the university,” said Bradley tennis coach Matt Tyler. “She helps her teammates and other athletes with those sorts of things. She’s a selfless kind of person, everything we could hope for in a leader.”
Wijesinghe is ranked second on Bradley’s all-time wins list for tennis and was a special guest of the Intercollegiate Tennis Association at the U.S Open in August. The ITA presented her the Arthur Ashe leadership and sportsmanship award for her efforts on the on the court, in the classroom, and in extracurricular activities.
“It means a lot of me to have my name, in some small way, attached to Arthur Ashe because he was such an incredible person,” said Wijesinghe. “I want to play tennis the rest of my life. I want to be around kids and make a difference in their lives the rest of my life.”
Looks like she’s off to a great start.