Gifts show trust in School of Medicine education

Brothers Eric Nguyen, M.D. (B.S. '07; M.D. '12), and Don Nguyen (B.S. '08) were accepted at several Virginia colleges, but they chose Virginia Commonwealth University to study biology. They liked the experience so much, said their parents Hang and Duc Nguyen, Ph.D., that when they both decided to go to medical school, the VCU School of Medicine was the obvious choice.

Eric Nguyen, who earned his VCU medical degree in 2012, is completing an internal medicine residency at Eastern Virginia Medical School in Norfolk, Va., and Don Nguyen expects to earn a dual degree in medicine and a master's in health administration at VCU in 2014.

"The School of Medicine welcomed our sons just as this country welcomed my wife and me from Vietnam," Duc Nguyen said. "This country was generous to support us, and we both feel it is important to give back. We're glad to support the school in this way, in appreciation of what our sons experienced."

The elder Nguyens have given generously to VCU through the 2009 establishment of the Nguyen-Ninh Partial Scholarship in the College of Humanities and Sciences' biology department, to which they continue to contribute. Awarded to undergraduate biology majors with excellent academic standing who demonstrate financial need, the scholarship benefitted three students so far.

The couple's most recent gift of $15,000 to establish the Nguyen-Ninh VCU School of Medicine Endowed Fund will be directed to priority needs as determined by the dean.

"It is a remarkable vote of confidence when parents acknowledge the excellence of our educational programs with a gift that will help secure the future of medical education on the MCV Campus," said Jerome F. Strauss III, M.D., Ph.D., dean of the School of Medicine. "We are proud to have earned their trust."

Duc Nguyen, a civil engineering professor at Old Dominion University, and his wife, Hang, a systems analyst who has been employed as a subcontractor for the U.S. Navy, have learned a lot about American philanthropy during their 28 years in the Norfolk and Chesapeake, Va., areas, Duc Nguyen explained.

"American generosity goes beyond the immediate family," he said. "That's one thing we've learned. We, too, want to give back to society in some small way. We hope others will do the same. In whatever amount they can. It doesn't have to be big. We will continue to contribute to VCU in the years ahead, and we also plan to include VCU, ODU and other charity organizations, in our revised will.

"We've prepared our sons to contribute to their community and to society in general, after they finish their training and are in a better financial situation. They both spent a lot of time at VCU and enjoyed their education and their experiences there. To us, it's very important to give back."

To learn more about the School of Medicine, contact Tom Holland, associate dean for development, at (804) 828-4800 or