Summer 2019

The greatest equalizer

Jonathan Truong and his father
Courtesy of Jonathan Truong

Jonathan Truong has had a lot of success in his life. The son of Vietnamese refugees, he made a name for himself in the Twin Cities breakdancing and hip-hop communities, earned his master’s in public policy from the U’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs in 2013, and now works at social media company Yelp.

But Truong says none of his success would have been possible without his father, who “always supported and encouraged me to get an education.”

Truong is now doing the same for today’s students by establishing the Loc Hoang Truong Fellowship, named in honor of his father, who died in September 2018. The fellowship will support first-generation students at the U and those interested in improving opportunities for refugees.

“We didn’t have a lot of money growing up, and we experienced a lot of adversity simply because of how we looked,” says Truong, who was a recipient of the James Lyday Fellowship for Leadership in Public Service. “But my father encouraged me to get an education because he believed it was the greatest equalizer. And then I could make a positive impact on my community while creating my own legacy.”

The first fellowship will be awarded this fall.

Hear Jonathan Truong's address at the Humphrey School's 17th annual public leadership awards:

U of M Humphrey School