How does a truck in Cambodia come to
bear the decals of a university some 9,000
miles away? The answer to that question
is a testament to the global nature of Troy
The Kia truck can be found in the
hometown of Buddhist monk Venerable
Penh, who recently returned to his home
country of Cambodia from a stint as
a visiting scholar in Troy University’s
College of Education.
During his studies at TROY, Penh
became acquainted with the Cambodian
community in Atlanta. Donations from
members of the community enabled Penh
to purchase the truck, which he presented
to the people of his hometown upon his
“The people are so very pleased with the
truck because it is very useful for them,”
said Penh, the second Buddhist monk to
hold the title of visiting scholar at TROY.
Villagers will use the truck for several
purposes including transporting water
from a nearby river to the villagers,
carrying loads of soil necessary
for evening out bumpy roads, free
transportation for elderly villagers,
delivering stone and sand from
mountainous regions for construction
purposes and transporting funeral
materials for the community, Penh said.
The visiting scholar program that
made Penh’s visit possible was started in
2009 through TROY’s partnership with
Pannasastra University of Cambodia.
Through the program, Penh was able
to take courses at TROY toward his
masters in education administration and
leadership, as well as share his culture
with University students, faculty and staff.
Penh will finish his master’s degree at
Pannasastra this spring and then plans to
devote himself to teaching, working in
poor rural areas and writing a book.
Penh said time at Troy University and
the bonds he formed during his visit to
the United States will always be close
to his heart. And, he is grateful for the
opportunities provided by the two partner
“I would like to express my deepest
thanks for the scholarship program
because it not only allowed me to attain
academic success but also allowed me
to fulfill my social responsibility to my
community,” he said.
Dr. Jack Hawkins, Jr., TROY Chancellor,
said while the rural community in
Cambodia will certainly benefit from the
use of the truck, others can benefit by
emulating Penh’s desire to help others.
“As our motto that dates back to the
University’s founding in 1887 says, we
seek to educate the mind to think, the
heart to feel and the body to act,” Dr.
Hawkins said. “Venable Penh, through his
compassion and willingness to put others
first, has shown us the true meaning of
those words and we can learn much from
By Andy Ellis