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Coast To Coast

Coast To Coast

Thursday, January 30, 2014

So Van Nguyen, professor emeritus of English as a Second Language at OCC for 22 years, passed away on January 23. He was 74.

So taught at OCC until his retirement in 2012 capping a teaching career that spanned 52 years.

“He taught in the room next to me for years and, even when he was so frail recovering from cancer, he always was a gentleman; smile on his face, polite bow of his head, sweet greeting…kindness and awareness in every movement,” said OCC communications studies professor Kat Carroll. “I always felt better after those morning greetings. He serves as my role model this week for each of those new faces walking into my classroom.”

“We will remember him as an outstanding teacher and linguist,” said ESL professor Maria Lerma, “and we will always remember his kindness and gentle sense of humor.”

A Vietnamese refugee, So was chief of the English Department in the Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces Language School before he was incarcerated for six years in various communist labor camps. He spent another nine years under home supervision in Vietnam before relocating to the United States in January 1990 with his wife, Shirley, and their two children.

In 1971, he was awarded the U.S. Army Commendation Medal. He began teaching part-time in OCC in 1990. He became a full-time faculty member two years later.

So earned a BA degree in English at the University of Saigon, and completed his Master’s degree in Teaching English as a Second Language at UCLA.

Services were held this week at Peek Funeral Home in Westminster. Condolences can be sent to the family at 57 Wonderland, Irvine CA 92620.