TROY chancellor calls Vietnam commencement an interesting paradox

Posted: Wednesday, 06 February 2008

TROY – Almost 40 years after he led a platoon of U.S. Marines in the war-torn southeast Asian nation of Vietnam, Troy University Chancellor Jack Hawkins Jr. will return to Vietnam on another mission of leadership.

In February, the University, which has 63 teaching sites outside of Alabama, will conduct commencement exercises at both Vietnam National University and Hanoi University of Technology. It is the first such TROY commencement in the southeast Asian nation where TROY began its first degree programs six years ago. Graduates will receive TROY diplomas either in business administration or computer science.

Dr. Hawkins calls the mission “an interesting paradox.” It’s with good reason, as he returns to the “littered battlefield” where he says his Marine service was “a defining event in my career” and to the city where U.S. Senator and presidential candidate John McCain was held a prisoner of war.

“It’s reflective of a changing world,” he said. “40 years ago we were intent on inflicting damage, now there is unison and the mission is educating the Vietnamese.”

Commencement exercises at Vietnam National University’s College of Economics will take place on Feb. 27. Similar exercises will take place at Hanoi University of Technology on Feb. 28.

Dr. Hawkins, and other University officials, will precede the commencement ceremonies with an official visit to the Kingdom of Cambodia at the request of Senior Minister of Education Dr. Kol Pheng. During that visit, Dr. Hawkins is expected to sign an agreement establishing a cooperative education project with Pannasastra University of Cambodia.