A lasting legacy

Memorial scholarship honors alum from Vietnam

Thomas Allen Moore, who was adopted by a U.S. soldier in Vietnam, died in 2003. But his legacy lives on in a UWL Foundation Scholarship.

Posted 3:11 p.m. Friday, July 29, 2022

War, in almost all cases, pulls families apart.

In the case of Robert Allen Moore, it brought a family together.

Robert was a Navy chaplain with the U.S. Marine Corps during the Vietnam War. In 1969, while stationed in the coastal city of Da Nang, he met a 10-year-old boy named Nuygen Duc Tam, who had been orphaned during the war.

Robert was tasked with finding a sponsor to support Tam, but the two quickly struck up a friendship of their own. They became so close, in fact, that Robert adopted Tam and brought him back to the United States.

Tam took the name “Thomas” and adjusted well to American life — even becoming an Eagle Scout.

Thomas went on to attend UWL, where he graduated with a degree in political science in 1982. He joined the U.S. Marine Corps, rising to the rank of major, before leaving the military to work for the State of California in San Diego.

Thomas’ life was cut tragically short in 2003, when he suffered a heart attack while visiting his father in Minnesota.

I miss him greatly and established the memorial scholarship so he would not be forgotten.”

To honor his late son, Robert established the Thomas Allen Moore Scholarship to support outstanding international students at UWL with financial need.

Robert is glad his son’s memory continues to have an impact on campus — especially considering the pride Thomas took in his college education.

“He was very proud of having a degree from UW-La Crosse. In fact, it was one of the three main achievements he regarded in his life — the other two being an Eagle Scout and a major in the U.S. Marine Corps,” Robert says. “I miss him greatly and established the memorial scholarship so he would not be forgotten.”

Create your own legacy at: www.uwlax.edu/foundation