The selflessness and compassion of others brought MiMi Tran to UGA. Now she wants to return the favor.
At a glance
MiMi Tran is a first-generation college student and the first recipient of the John and Elizabeth Crawford Scholarship.
Following a motorcycle accident in Vietnam, she knew she wanted to work in health and medicine.
Recognizing the role selfless compassion has played in her life, MiMi is committed to paying it forward.
“[Donors] are so selfless to help people they don’t know fulfill their education. That really changes lives, and I’m forever thankful for it.”
Coming out of high school, MiMi Tran ’21 had good grades and her choice of schools, but she didn’t have a “dream school.” The University of Georgia was a strong option, but her single-parent household would have had some difficulty affording a UGA education.
Then she found out about her Georgia Commitment Scholarship.
“Honestly, I think my very first reaction was confusion,” said MiMi. “Obviously I was really happy—college is a lot to pay for, even with the Zell Miller Scholarship. When I told my mom, she couldn’t believe it. She thought I was playing a trick on her.”
MiMi became the first recipient of the John and Elizabeth Crawford Scholarship, established by John Crawford IV (BBA ’88), a UGA Foundation Trustee, and his wife, Lizzie, as part of the Georgia Commitment Scholarship program.
“These [donors] are so selfless to help people they don’t know fulfill their education,” said MiMi. “That really changes lives, and I’m forever thankful for it.”
This display of selfless compassion helped to solidify MiMi’s aspiration to help people, but it was not the first such display in MiMi’s life.
In 2008, 9-year-old MiMi visited family in Vietnam with her grandmother. While there, MiMi and a cousin were involved in a motorcycle accident that sent her to the hospital. The care she received from the doctors and nurses inspired her to enter the medical field.
“I remember having a moment where I thought, ‘Wow, these people are trying so hard to help me, a person they barely know,’” said MiMi. “That resonated with me.”
MiMi didn’t lack for examples of selflessness at home, either. Her mother emigrated from Vietnam 30 years ago with MiMi’s grandmother and grandfather. Her mother was the only family member who spoke English and became the family’s sole provider, even while raising MiMi by herself. Through it all, family always came first.
“I’ll ask my mom, ‘What do you want for Mother’s Day? What do you want for your birthday?’” said MiMi. “She always says “I want you to be successful, I want you to get good grades, and to have a good life for yourself.’ It’s tough to put my gratitude for that into words.”
When it was time for MiMi to graduate from high school, she was resolved: her mother had always put MiMi’s success and happiness before her own, and it was time for MiMi to return the favor.
The Georgia Commitment Scholarship has allowed MiMi to take the pressure off her mother as she now pursues a career in medicine at UGA. She will also be better poised to afford graduate school, should that figure into her career goals.
When MiMi came to UGA, she participated in the UGA Freshman College Summer Experience. “FreshCo” is a four-week academic residential program that helps incoming freshmen transition to college. MiMi, a first-generation college student still feeling apprehensive about the move to Athens, was a prime candidate. After a particularly stressful week in the program, she and her classmates headed into the weekend.
“Our classes had been really tough, so we decided to go out and have a little fun,” said MiMi. “We hiked all the way from Building 1516 [in East Campus] to the Arch and just hung around North Campus until we found the Herty Field Fountain. Then we just jumped in and played around. It’s such a small thing, but it made me appreciate being on campus, in that moment, able to enjoy the little things.”
Since classes began, MiMi has taken advantage of all that UGA has to offer. She joined the Vietnamese Student Association and Red Cross at UGA, and she met the Crawfords and thanked them for their support.
MiMi also found a way to pay back the goodwill she’s received over the years by pursuing an exercise and sport science degree. This field will allow her to learn how to help people the same way she was helped by the medical professionals in Vietnam—and fulfill her mother’s dreams of a successful career for her daughter.
“It all goes back to when I was a kid in that hospital, thinking ‘Wow, these people are helping me, saving me, someone they don’t even know,” she said. “I want people to have that feeling I felt when I help them.”