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Vietnamese Students, Parents Learn About UST
Photo: Vietnamese GroupFamilyFor the close-knit Vietnamese community in Houston, having a chance to visit with University of St. Thomas faculty, alumni and students who share their culture can make prospective students more comfortable with the admissions process.

The University of St. Thomas hosted a luncheon for prospective Vietnamese students and their parents on March 4 at the Bat Dat Restaurant in Bellaire, Texas. About 90 people from 14 high schools attended the event, which was organized by Prof. Ly Phan, instructor of psychology.

“The goal is to introduce students and parents to St. Thomas and share why UST is unique,” Prof. Phan said. “We are able to talk about what the University has to offer.”

Photo: Vietnamese FamilyGuests had an opportunity to meet Dr. Dominic Aquila, vice president for academic affairs, and learn about the University admission process from Arthur Ortiz, director of admissions. Other University administrators attended, representing popular areas of study for incoming Vietnamese students, including pre-health programs, business and theology, and they also spoke about the core curriculum and Campus Ministry.

“We want parents to know that their children will be trained as competent professionals, trained for grad school or professional school,” Dr. Phan said. “But they will also be trained as a whole person, with a sense of service.”

The event was sponsored by Dr. Lee Tran ’00, a retina surgeon in private practice whose parents emigrated from Vietnam in 1975.

“When I think about my education, I’ve been through multiple schools,” Dr. Tran said. “The most influential school in my life would be UST.”

Photo: Dr Tran and AlumniDr. Tran said his Catholic faith and desire to be close to home influenced his decision to attend UST, and he also wanted to attend a University that would prepare him for the medical profession. He said his strong acceptance into medical school and optometry school was due in part to the personal interactions with faculty who took the time to get to know him and write strong recommendation letters.

“For science classes, I could walk in and out of the professors’ offices,” he said. “It builds relationships with them. Later on, they become your mentors for going to medical school.”

Dr. Tran said he also benefited from classes in the core curriculum.

“I take away what I learned in theology and philosophy, as far as the way of life, and how it affects your faith, morals and ethics,” he said. “Looking back, I wish I concentrated more on those classes.”

Dr. Tran encourages other students to consider UST.

“I would say if you’re looking for a smaller University with great student teacher ratio, if you’re looking for a great liberal arts education that allows you to take a diversity of classes… then you should definitely consider UST.”

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