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He Engineered a Record at MIT

November 17, 1988|DEBORAH CHRISTENSEN

Tue Nguyen, a "boat person" who spoke no English when he fled Vietnam nine years ago, has earned a record seventh degree, a doctorate in nuclear engineering, from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Nguyen, 26, is believed to have earned more degrees than any other single alumnus of the school, MIT said. "What else would I do with my free time?" he said, when asked why he pursued so many degrees in his seven years at the school. "I like to read, to learn." Nguyen has five bachelor of science degrees--in physics, computer science and engineering, electrical engineering, mathematics and nuclear engineering--and a master of science degree in nuclear engineering. He worked three jobs in his first year of school and took up to 12 subjects a semester, an amount one of his professors called "staggering." (The normal course load is four.) The super scholar has accepted a job with IBM in Burlington, Vt., designing new technology for semiconductors and plans to marry another MIT graduate.

A White House electrician and his wife gave up a donor liver for their desperately ill daughter at the last minute so the organ could be transplanted into a little boy who would have died without it. Candi Thomas, 6, of Accokeek, Md., was about to undergo her second liver transplant and was already under anesthesia at Children's Hospital in Pittsburgh, when surgeon Dr. Thomas Starzl told Candi's parents, Penny and Stewart Thomas, that Jason Point, 5, of Deale, Md., would die within 24 to 48 hours without the liver. Jason was listed in fair condition after the transplant. Candi, also in fair condition, is still awaiting another donor liver.

James A. Getty was a Chicago area music teacher when he decided to leave the Land of Lincoln and impersonate the nation's 16th President instead. For more than a decade, Getty has been portraying Abraham Lincoln in Gettysburg, Pa., and will deliver his Gettysburg Address Saturday during ceremonies marking the 125th anniversary of what may be the nation's best-known speech. Lincoln's remarks were intended to be an aside to a speech by historian Edward Everett marking the dedication of a national cemetery on Nov. 19, 1863, at the site of the Civil War's biggest battle. Getty, whose resemblance to Lincoln is startling, portrays the President during the tourist season at a small theater he owns in Gettysburg, and in schools and at special events during the off-season. "I think I can divorce myself from that role very quickly with a change of clothes," Getty said. "It's like somebody going to work at the gas station in the morning. They put on a pair of overalls and that's it."

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