LONG BEACH (CBSLA) — A Vietnamese woman’s path to earning a bachelor’s degree was deterred by the Vietnam war and the decades.
But in just a few days, Phuong Truong, 75, is going to be a college graduate.
CBS2’s Jo Kwon spoke to Truong about her journey to a diploma and degree from Cal State Long Beach.
When she first enrolled at CSULB in 2013, Truong was 70.
“I like studying,” she says.
Truong was close to getting a degree in Vietnam in 1975.
“My last exams to graduate,” she says.
Instead, she was forced to work full-time in the aftermath of the war.
“To help my family,” she says, “seven siblings.”
For 32 years, Truong did accounting work for an electric company and never returned to school.
She retired in 2007 and moved to the U.S.
“The U.S. condition is much better than in Vietnam,” Truong says.
She became a citizen in 2012 and went back to school a year later.
Riding a bus every day from Garden Grove was a trek.
“Takes me four hours a day to get to class,” she says.
She never missed a day despite the long ride.
“I’m always present at class,” says Truong.
“She’s keeping up with all the 20-year-olds, and I think they look up to her for that reason,” said Michael Solt, dean of the College of Business Administration at Long Beach.
“It’s showing us, the future generation, that we can accomplish things if we work hard enough and want it enough,” says freshman Alma Alvarado.
Kristy Trihn has been Truong’s adviser since day one. She says she couldn’t be prouder of the 75-year-old.
“I’m going to miss her,” Trihn says.
And the feeling is mutual
“Miss many people here,” Truong says.
Truong will march with her class Friday. She will officially get her degree when she wraps up two more classes.