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About 800 students received their diplomas at Fall Commencement on Saturday, Dec. 14, 2019.

OU names David Nguyen as commencement speaker for fall 2021

Ohio University named David Nguyen, interim associate dean for Research and Graduate Studies in the Patton College of Education, as commencement speaker for the December commencement ceremony.

Nguyen first came to OU in 2016 and is an associate professor of higher education and student affairs in the Department of Counseling and Higher Education. Nguyen is also the Provost’s Faculty Fellow for Student Success.

“Being the commencement speaker is a tremendous honor and one that came about from students nominating me with the Outstanding Graduate Faculty Award,” Nguyen said in a university news release. “I work with some great students, who thought so much of me to nominate me for this award. Subsequently, I appreciate the committee's thought in selecting me for this opportunity.”

Nguyen has done extensive research on the topic of student success and how environmental and institutional factors can inhibit or facilitate educational opportunities, particularly among students belonging to historically marginalized communities. He focuses on giving students the opportunity to analyze modern issues in higher education and engage in debate, putting theory into practice. 

Much of his research is rooted in personal experience, as Nguyen faced his own educational challenges growing up, struggling almost to the point of academic probation. He was the first person in his family to attend college and struggled to ask for help and direction, eventually finding his path through the help of a career counselor. 

As a result, Nguyen tries to encourage help-seeking behaviors in his students and wants them to feel comfortable approaching him for guidance.

Nguyen also emphasizes that students do not need to have a set path after graduation, describing his own career changes throughout his life. 

“All of this to say is that there isn't a single path and success means very different things to people,” Nguyen said in the release. “What remains important is how you define it, how are you making progress towards this goal, and if not, why not?”


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