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Vietnamese MBA Students Graduate
From Adventist University
Program brings Griggs University program to Hanoi National University

BY MARK A. KELLNER,
News Editor, reporting from Silver Spring, Maryland
 
he atrium of the Seventh-day Adventist Church’s world headquarters became an academic sanctuary on September 14, when 28 Vietnamese graduates from the southeast Asian nation traveled to Silver Spring, Maryland, to collect their Master of Business Administration (MBA) degrees in person at Griggs University/Griggs International Academy, the church-owned school known for nearly 100 years as Home Study International.
 
“In this memorably moment, [my] sincere wish is we would apply the results of our studies daily,” said Nguyen Van Hung, an MBA graduate who was one of two “class representatives” to speak at the event. A total of 90 students completed the program and graduated; nearly a third were able to pick up their diplomas in person.
 
CONGRATULATIONS: Vietnam National University student Le Hong Guang (right) accepts her Master’s of Business Administration degree from Donald R. Sahly, Griggs University/Griggs International Academy president during a September 14, 2009 ceremony in Silver Spring, Maryland. Griggs and the VNU teamed up to offer an MBA program in 2008; Le was one of the first graduates, and part of a delegation of 28 who came to the U.S. for their diplomas. [Photos: Rajmund Dabrowski/ANN]
Hung, a banch manager at a large corporation in Hanoi, said he hoped his fellow graduates would “contribute to our country’s development and further cooperation between the United States and Vietnam.”
 
Le Duc Anh, the other representative speaker, said he was “really very happy today,” and wished to “express our thanks and gratitude to Griggs University.”
 
Begun in early 2008, the class of 90 MBA students at Vietnam National University in Hanoi took their training in English, with local instructors and distance education materials prepared by Griggs. The courses stressed business principles, but also the need to serve their nations and communities.
 
Griggs president Donald Sahly and his staff supply the curriculum and approve the contract teaching staff, which included the head of a consulting company who spent six years on the New York Stock Exchange, as well as an Australian lawyer and lecturer who teaches on a freelance basis for three colleges in Hanoi, according to a 2008 Adventist News Network report. The host university provides classroom space and hires the approved professors.
 
Even though the teachers are not Adventist and Griggs' MBA classes aren’t taught in a distinctly Christian environment, Sahly told ANN that the partnerships expose students to the philosophy that drives Christian education through Griggs curriculum and periodic lectures by Griggs staff. Sahly said the students learn to be motivated by service. “People who serve live longer, are happier, and are more productive than those who are self-centered,” Sahly noted.
 
For students “raised on evolution and atheism,” he says, such concepts stir questions. The students may not be signing up in droves for Bible classes, but every question they ask is a wedge to a new worldview, Sahly said.
 
The graduates who attended the Silver Spring ceremony heard a reinforcement of that notion from Ella Smith Simmons, a veteran U.S. educator who is now a general vice president of the Seventh-day Adventist world church and who also chairs the Griggs board.
 
“Knowledge becomes relevant only when it is translated into wise actions,” Simmons said. “You are called to wise and compassionate action to make this world a better place. … You must be models for everyone; you must be faultless, blameless and pure in the midst of a corrupt world.”
 
Also featured at the graduation was Mike Lambert, executive director of the Distance Education and Training Council, a non-profit educational association located in Washington, D.C., which accredits Griggs University/Griggs International Academy programs.
 
“Hats off to all of you for the sacrifices you made,” Lambert said. “No one can take away what you have achieved. My charge to you is to share your knowledge.”


  
 



 
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