When Chancellor Jack Hawkins presented the first Troy University diplomas to 13 students at Vietnam National University’s College of Economics on Wednesday, Feb. 27, it marked another significant milestone.
Troy University officials in country for the commencement ceremonies confirmed with the Vietnamese Ministry of Education and Training that Troy University became the first U.S. institution to award baccalaureate degrees to students in Vietnam. TROY also held similar graduation exercises at Hanoi University of Technology on Feb. 28, with an additional 13 students receiving diplomas. Students at both universities received degrees in business administration and computer science.
Dr. Hawkins, who led a platoon of U.S. Marines in Vietnam almost 40 years ago, said he was pleased to return to Southeast Asia armed with “books and not bullets.”
“It brings a sense of pride and of accomplishment,” Dr. Hawkins said. “We are helping rebuild a great county that we once perceived as an enemy.”
Through its University College division, TROY operates without taxpayer funding more than 60 teaching sites outside of Alabama in 16 U.S. states, one U.S. territory and 12 other nations.
Prior to the commencement ceremonies, Troy University officials traveled to Cambodia to sign an agreement of cooperation between TROY and Pannasastra University of Cambodia (PUC) that will lead to formal educational ties between the two universities. Dr. Hawkins said TROY will be helping to rebuild the country’s higher education system, which was destroyed by the civil war during the rule of the Khmer Rouge.
“Our influence in Cambodia can exceed this agreement, but Pannasastra is step one,” Dr. Hawkins said.
Last fall, Senior Minister of Education Dr. Kol Pheng visited TROY and Dr. Hawkins to request help in rebuilding his nation’s educational infrastructure.