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The following article is by Mimi Ko Cruz, Cal State Fullerton news content specialist.

President García Receives Inaugural Award

Viet Foundation Bestows ‘Local Hero’ Honors on CSUF President

The newly formed Viet Foundation honored Cal State Fullerton President Mildred García with its first “Local Hero in Educational Excellence Award” on Oct. 18 at its inaugural benefit concert and fashion show.

Eduardo M. Ochoa, president of Cal State Monterey Bay, introduced García to an audience of more than 200, calling her “a colleague who promotes higher education and business development training in the Vietnamese and minority community, and a person who is a staunch advocate of the mission of this new foundation.”

The Viet Foundation is the charitable arm of the Vietnamese Chamber of Commerce, focused on promoting the Vietnamese American business community, forging educational partnerships and raising funds for student scholarships. Its co-founder and chamber president, CSUF alumnus Tam Nguyen, co-owner of Advance Beauty College, said García was selected for the foundation’s “most prestigious award” because of her visionary leadership and support of underrepresented and minority students.

“What an honor,” García said at the event, which took place at AnQi by Crustacean Restaurant in Costa Mesa. “I am so humbled to receive this distinguished award. It really touches my heart to be embraced by this community. I thank you from the bottom of my heart.”

She told the crowd of mostly business owners and members of the Vietnamese Chamber of Commerce that Cal State Fullerton is “your university.” She invited them to visit often and thanked the foundation for raising funds for student scholarships, especially during today’s tough economic times.

In addition to honoring García, the foundation also awarded 16 other individuals and four companies for being advocates on behalf of Vietnamese and Asian American communities. They are:

• George Kalogridis, president of Disneyland Resort

• Kim Delevett, community affairs manager at Southwest Airlines

• Eddie Marquez, regional manager of Southern California Edison

• Chuong Bui, supplier diversity manager at NBC Universal

• Orson Aguilar of Greenlining Institute

• Thien A. Pham of Sunrise Seagull Productions

• actress Kieu Chinh

• Orange County Superior Court judges John Nho Trong Nguyen and Cheri Pham

• Mark Hung Nguyen, principal of Hare Continuation HIgh School

• Ysa Le of Vietnamese American Arts and Letters Association and Vietnamese International Film Festival

• U.S. Navy Jag Officer Chris Phan

• Victoria Tung, associate director of the U.S. Department of Commerce

• Madalene Mielke of Navigare Strategies

• Ahn Phan of Women’s Research and Educational Institute

• Teddy Ky-Nam Miller of Congresswoman Barbara Lee’s office

• Wal-Mart

• AT&T

• Southern California Gas Company

• Print Solutions Provider

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