Navaraj Lamichhane loves reading inspirational stories. Perhaps one day, there will be a book published on his own.
Growing up poor in Nepal, Lamichhane never dreamed of coming to the United States and earning a college degree. On Saturday, the 26-year-old achieved an American dream when he graduated from Washington State University Vancouver with a Bachelor’s in business administration.
“I am very proud to be a VanCoug. I never imagined I would come this far,” Lamichhane said. “It seems like I did most of the work. Behind me, there were a lot of people who pushed me to come here. Thank you everyone for giving me this opportunity.”
Orphaned at a young age and separated from his siblings, Lamichhane grew up in the Bright Horizon Children’s Home School in Matatirtha, Nepal. After completing high school and two years of college, Lamichhane met Beverly Questad, an English teacher at Skyview High School in Vancouver. She was inspirational in bringing Lamichhane to America, giving him a place to live and encouraging him to pursue a college degree.
“She really saw a drive in me,” Lamichhane said. “I have made so much progress, and she has been there every step of the way.”
He started attending classes at WSUV in January of 2016. He served as president of the International Students Association, volunteered at the Student Diversity Center and brought a Hindu festival of lights to WSUV for the first time.
“He doesn’t wait for something to happen,” said Keri Dedford, Lamichhane’s Student Affairs supervisor and academic coordinator. “He is able to articulate his situation and what he desires so that people can connect with him and help in the cause.”
Lamichhane said he learned something new every single day on campus.
“My English wasn’t that good when I first got here. Now, I can translate more in my brain. I’m doing better, I can write better and I can understand better,” Lamichhane said. “It’s just great to be able to meet people with different skills and expertise. It’s a terrific experience in America.”
Lamichhane’s resilience was recognized on Saturday as he won the Chancellor’s Award for Student Achievement.
On May 10, Lamichhane heads back to Nepal to see his friends and family. He plans to return to Vancouver and go to graduate school.
“Nepali people are extremely hard working, but they don’t see progress that much,” Lamichhane said. “With my story, I want to inspire them. This can turn into a fantastic thing or like a magical thing. They can accomplish things. They just need to believe in themselves.”