75-Year-Old Graduates College After Her Education Was Interrupted by Vietnam War

Phuong Truong revisited her studies at Cal State Long Beach in 2013.

A 75-year-old woman has finally graduated college after the Vietnam War thwarted her plans earlier in life.

Phuong Truong will walk in Cal State Long Beach’s graduation ceremony this Friday, after embarking on her goal to get a bachelor’s degree in 2013.

“[I’ll] miss many people here,” Phuong told KCBS.

Phuong said her first time as a college student was in her home country of Vietnam. With only final exams standing between her and her degree, the war forced her to quit her studies to provide for her family.

“I went to work," she said, indicating that she had seven siblings to care for.

She worked as an accountant for an electric company for 32 years, until 2007, when she retired and moved to the United States.  

After becoming a citizen in 2012, she decided to go back to school, applying to Cal State Long Beach in 2013.

“I like studying,” she said. “Takes me four hours a day to go to class. I’m always present, not absent.”

Since enrolling, students and faculty alike have looked to her for inspiration.

“It’s showing us, the future generation, that we can accomplish things if we work hard enough and want it enough,” said Alma Alvarado, a freshman at the college.