HOF074: Mai Liem

Mai Liem, a high-school graduate, was twice barred from pursuing post-secondary studies after the Communists took over South Vietnam in 1975, because of his father’s service as a military judge during the war. He managed to enrol on a third try by hiding the fact that his father was imprisoned in a re-education camp.

Realizing then that he had no future, Mai decided to leave Vietnam. He managed to escape to Malaysia on the fourth attempt. Sponsored by the Canadian government and resettled in Montreal in February 1985, Mai made up for lost time by throwing himself into his university studies. Relying on the support of his older siblings, who had arrived a few years earlier, Mai completed a four-year bachelor of mathematics degree within one year and a half after coming to Canada, earning three awards for academic achievement in the process.