Cumberland University


Binh Ngo, A Big Smile and A Bright Future


Binh Ngo, a junior majoring in accounting, is an international student from Saigon, Vietnam. Binh recently received two scholarships that no other student at Cumberland University has been awarded before. 

Delta Mu Delta and the Middle Tennessee Chapter of Certified Fraud Examiners are two organizations which award scholarships to business students with scholastic achievement, leadership qualities, and ethical behavior. Binh found out about the Delta Mu Delta Board Award scholarship, which is only awarded to the top 10 percent of the class, from his professor and advisor, Dr. Mary Lewis Haley. The other scholarship came to his attention through a customer at his part-time job at Holly Nails, where he greets guests and helps keep the salon clean.  

 “I would describe Binh as professional in all that he does, detail-oriented in his work, and enthusiastic about class and learning new things,” said Dr. Haley.

Binh left his family in Vietnam when he was only 15 years old with the intention of coming to America for one year to study English on a student visa.

“My parents were very worried about me leaving, but they were very proud too. They trusted me, because of my very mature behavior, but were sad to see me go.”  

During that year, he found that he loved America so much that he researched high schools in hopes of staying longer. He was able to attend Friendship Christian School in Lebanon while he stayed with a host family arranged by the school. His favorite class was personal finance because math comes easily to him. Studying accounting seemed like a natural fit.  

“Accounting is very relevant to life because we all need to pay taxes,” said Binh with his signature big smile.

Prior to graduation in 2015 Binh applied to a few different colleges, and Cumberland University was the first to accept him. This year he is living on campus which he loves so far because everyone is so close and nice. He says his fellow students, and the faculty and staff at Cumberland are very friendly and make him feel at home.

Binh lights up a room as soon as he walks into it. There is not a day when he does not have a smile on his face and is energetic to make the most out of the day.

“I smile at you, and when you smile back at me it makes me so happy.”  

When he begins the Spring 2018 term Binh will be a senior. He was able to earn twelve credit hours and opt out of taking Spanish classes because of his fluency in the Vietnamese language.  

Binh hopes to pass the Certified Public Accountant exam and land a job in accounting that does business between Vietnam and America.  He would like to be able to travel back and forth between the two countries, using his ability to be a translator. No doubt his mother, Nguyen Thi Hanh Thao, and his father, Ngo Van Loi, along with his younger sister, Ann Nguyen, would be thrilled to see him. When asked what he would tell other international students considering coming to America, he said, “The living standard is high, the environment is so clean, and the law system is perfect. If they come here, I am very sure they will like it. Just try it.”

Binh says there is freedom in America that cannot be found in Vietnam. There, students are told what path they are going to take, whereas, in America, students have the ability to choose what they want to do, and even be creative with their choices. Overseas, students must take 13 or 14 classes at a time.

He lives life every day to the fullest and with gratitude, believing that life is beautiful no matter what happens. 

“If a good thing happens, say thank you. If a bad thing happens, say thank you and learn from your mistakes. Try harder next time.” 

In Vietnam there is a saying that he thinks of often: “The war will be peace when we feel peace in ourselves.”