A Very Special College Reunion

Saturday, September 1st 2007, 5:10 pm
By: News On 6

Rogers State University held a reunion that was more than three decades in the making. A very special group of alumni was reunited for the first time since the 1970's. News On 6 reporter Chris Wright was in Claremore Saturday for the event and reports in 1975, Rogers State gave 32 Vietnamese students the chance to attend school in Claremore, and they made the most of that opportunity.

The former students took a moment Saturday for a very special photo, a photo the formers refugees have been waiting more than three decades to take.

"We were all disconnected for over 30 years. I was always wondering about them. I wanted to see them at least one more time in my life," says former refugee Nam Le.

"It brings back a lot of good memories of 32 years ago, this place, this place where we started in America," says former refugee Dr. Henny Nguyen.

Everyone in attendance at Saturday's reunion began their life in America in Claremore. After leaving war-ravaged Vietnam, they eventually at a camp at Fort Chaffey in Arkansas. Determined to help some of the refugees, RSU administrators selected 25 of them from the camp, and gave them scholarships.

Many of those administrators also showed up to reminisce.

"We grew to love them, and wanted to do everything we could to help them become men and women who would go out into the world and become very successful," says RSU’s Dr. Danette Boyle.

Many of the former refuges did in fact become extremely successful. The alums have spread out across the country; some are now doctors, engineers, business owners, and pharmacists.

Unfortunately, in an age before email, most lost touch with one another. However, they say they never forgot about their time at Rogers State. They also say this weekend is more than reunion; it is the beginning of their renewed friendship. After accomplishing so much after starting with so little, they have vowed to never lose touch again.

"This is the dream of my life. After over 30 years, I wish to see school one more time, see all my friend one more time. And my dream come true," says Nam Le.

Amazingly, 23 of the 25 original refugees attended the reunion in Claremore. Now that they have found each other again, they hope to get together once every couple of years at Rogers State University.

Watch the video: Former Refugees Hold Special Reunion