Dr. Thanh Van Anderson is a Vietnamese immigrant coming to the United States in 1973. Here in the “land of freedom”, she fought through bigotry and ignorance to become an elementary teacher. Her strength and perseverance continued as she advanced in her professional education career through her master's degree and, finally, her doctorate from Oklahoma State University because she found that the people in charge paid more attention to degrees than they did people.
Van shattered glass ceilings that had been set as obstacles against her gender and Asian background. She retired from her education career as the Director of Bi-lingual Education for the Oklahoma State Department of Education. It was after her retirement in 2009 that Dr. Anderson faced her toughest challenges, liver cancer, hepatitis-c, and pancreatic cancer. She was cured of the first two and went into remission on the third. She celebrated her victory by being a volunteer at the Tucson Oncology Cancer Center where she helped dozens of patients and their families face their diseases. Currently, her pancreatic cancer has returned, and she is in stage four of the disease. Throughout all her trials, it has been her faith in Jesus Christ that has sustained her. That same faith continues to give her hope and joy.