Spotlight on Alumnae

Ngoc-Huong Nguyen ’65

International Dean honored by Grateful Alumna

It is hard to leave home for the first time. It is even harder if you are going to a foreign country. And, it was even more difficult yet in the years prior the dawn of the digital age, without fast and inexpensive computer communications. However, Douglass international students found needed assistance from the College’s Associate Dean, Edna Newby. In gratitude, one such alumna has recently established a scholarship in her name.

A Douglass alumna herself, Edna Newby ’31 spent most of her career in College Hall. She started as a secretary and was steadily promoted to registrar, director of admissions, assistant dean and associate. She retired in 1972 and passed away peacefully in 2003 after a short illness. She was especially proud of her work as the foreign student advisor at Douglass. Over the course of ten years, she developed a strong program for international women and remained in close contact with many of them throughout her lifetime. When Dean Newby was notified of her selection as a member of the Douglass Society, she was humble in her acceptance stating, “I have always received more than I have given to these fine young women.” But her devotion to their well being was clear and her relationship with foreign students, “her girls”, extended far beyond their college careers. She kept in touch with them, and kept them up to date on another, through her regular newsletters and her travels.

Such was the case for Ngoc-Huong Nguyen ’65 who shared her gratitude by giving back to Douglass. Sadly, Ms. Nguyen passed away suddenly on May 23, 2012. Ms. Nguyen came to Douglass from Vietnam in the fall of 1961 “scared and homesick.” In Dean Newby, she found more than a student advisor. She was a “second mother.” She credits her ability to persist and succeed to the caring kindness of Dean Newby. However, whenever she offered Dean Newby gratitude, the Dean would humbly say “just do something nice for someone else.” This attitude resonated with Ms. Nguyen’s Asian culture, where all respect those old enough to “remember and give back.” She and Dean Newby remained in touch over the years after Ms. Nguyen’s graduation. They shared wonderful visits and some exciting travels together.

It is a friendship that Ms. Nguyen warmly and gratefully acknowledged by funding the Dean Edna Newby Scholarship Endowment which will provide assistance for international students in perpetuity – a lasting tribute to her mentor and then friend.

In photos: Ngoc-Huong as pictured in the “Quair” yearbook; and Edna Newby ’31, during her time as Director of Admissions, interviews a student. This personal interview was required of each entering freshman.