Leading at Church and in Higher Education

Name: Linh Doan

Current Status: Alumni

Graduation Year: 1997

Originally from Cần Thơ, Vietnam, Dr. Linh Doan (BA ’97) says, “Where I grew up, there was a widespread suspicion of what higher education can do to your Christian faith.  C. S. Lewis convinced me otherwise…and here I am!”

Doan received a Bachelor’s Degree in Preaching from HIU, and went on to earn his Ph.D. from Fuller Seminary. Sensing a call “to be grateful of the generous Christian tradition I received from the West,” he followed God’s leading into a life of vocational ministry.


Dr. Doan has led churches in Australia, Malaysia, and Vietnam, before returning to America where he is now a Senior Pastor for Thanh Le Baptist Church. Under his leadership, Thanh Le Church has grown into a multi-generational, multi-cultural congregation that actively supports and engages in missions worldwide.


Doan’s responsibilities do not end there. He is also President of Union University of California (UUC), an online Christian institution established in 1986 to respond to the spiritual leadership needs among the refugees and immigrants from Southeast Asia, particularly from Vietnam. UUC has grown and now offers certificate programs as well as Master of Art in Ministry (M.A.M.) and Master of Divinity (M.Div). Prior to his presidency at UUC, Doan also served as a board member and Chair of the Board for six years.


“I naturally gravitated to UUC's mission of training for Vietnamese Christian leaders especially since it had been the sole Vietnamese evangelical training institute in the entire world.” President Doan tells of his passion for the university. “I started translating, editing, then teaching at UUC when I arrived in the US in 1993, and studying at HIU (then Pacific Christian College).”

When asked how he balances being both a Senior Pastor and President of a university, Doan humbly replied, “That's the question I keep asking myself! I was inspired by Dr. LeRoy Lawson who then served as President of Hope while also pastoring a growing church.”

Dr. Doan also credits the indelible impact and influence of his HIU professors – “the life force of the gospel from the teaching of Dr. Knofel Staton, the respect for the text of the Scriptures from Dr. Paul McReynolds, the concrete wisdom for preaching from Dr. Joe Grana, and the annual PCC preaching clinics of that time. They all have significantly shaped my life and ministry.”

Dr. Doan with wife Bich-Tram and their daughters: Dorothy and Beatriz.