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News & Press: Temple

The Search For Brother Cau

Monday, November 14, 2016   (0 Comments)
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Revisiting Phi Kap Lost In Vietnam Downfall

By Kelby Dolan
Millikin University, ‘A

templeBrother Nguyen Huu Cau, of South Vietnam, pledged in 1972 to the Florida Omega Alpha chapter. He graduated from the University of Florida in 1973. After graduation, he returned home to South Vietnam, where he served his country in resistance to communism.

On April 30, 1975, Communist North Vietnamese captured the South Vietnamese capital of Saigon, forcing South Vietnam to surrender and bringing about an end to the Vietnam War.

During the Vietnam downfall, Phi Kappa Theta brothers lost contact with Brother Cau. His Phi Kap Brothers searched through catalogues of Vietnamese refugees, unsuccessful in locating him. "We hope that our brother survived the maelstrom that engulfed his country.”

In his late 20’s, Brother Cau came to the United States for university. His Fraternity Brothers recall how he "anxiously awaited his opportunity to participate” in service projects, and how he improved his English fluency at the Fraternity house. Cau heard rock music for the first time at the chapter house. "Now I dance to the rock music too.” Cau even spoke with Edward J. Kirchner (Ohio State University, ‘35),
Phi Kappa Theta Man of the Century, Expansion Director in 1972, about joining. The following semester, Cau promptly joined.

His brothers said "we brought a little America into Cau’s life, and he enriched ours.” Cau’s decision to return home to South Vietnam was something he wanted to do.
Phi Kappa Theta Brothers recall his departure as a "sad occasion.”

Author of the 1975 article, Brian Burkhardt writes that Cau’s soft-spoken compassion transcends differences in nationality that define our bonds of brotherhood. Forty one years after the fall of Vietnam, we pay respect to the sacrifice of Brother Nguyen Huu Cau, while his story encourages us to act with gentle benevolence.

If you have any where-about information, or questions about Brother Nguyen Huu Cau, email us at temple@phikaps.org.

Image: Image taken from the Fall 1975, Volume 60 Number 1 issue of The Temple. The original caption reads: "Brother Nguyen Huu Cau (in front), a foreign student from Vietnam, helps Florida Omega Alpha complete a 1972 service project. In 1973, after graduating from Florida, Cau returned to the military in his homeland.”

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