The speaker at our graduate ceremony, Dr. Viet Thanh Nguyễn, is an award-winning author and professor. After graduating from Bellarmine College Preparatory, a Jesuit high school in San Jose, he earned bachelor’s and doctoral degrees from the University of California, Berkeley. Dr. Nguyễn currently serves as the Aerol Arnold Chair of English and Professor of English, American Studies and Ethnicity, and Comparative Literature at the University of Southern California.
Dr. Nguyễn’s debut novel, The Sympathizer—which explores themes of caste, education, war, identity and loyalty—earned the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, among other accolades. He was selected as a 2017 MacArthur Foundation Fellow, also known as the “genius grant.” A prolific author whose writings have received numerous awards, Dr. Nguyễn’s other works include the short story collection The Refugees, as well as Race and Resistance: Literature and Politics in Asian America and Nothing Ever Dies: Vietnam and the Memory of War. Addressing themes surrounding race and ethnicity, Dr. Nguyễn gives voice to the lives and cultures of refugees, especially Vietnamese refugees. He serves on the Board for the Pulitzer Prizes and the International Rescue Committee, is actively involved in promoting arts and Vietnamese culture and the study of how cultures, peoples, capital, and ideas flow between Asia, the Americas and the Pacific Islands.