VIA began in 1963 when Dwight Clark, then Stanford’s Dean of Freshman Men, organized a summer project with Stanford University students. The students assisted programs serving Chinese refugees in Hong Kong through rooftop schools, medical clinics, recreation programs, and road building. The summer reshaped many of these students’ personal and professional goals. They so valued the benefits of their cross-cultural experience that they recruited other students for similar projects. In 1966, the program was incorporated under the name Volunteers in Asia, now VIA.
Dwight Clark ... founded Volunteers in Asia (VIA) and served as its President for 40 years; under his leadership, VIA has sent thousands of American students to volunteer in Asia and has brought thousands of Asian students to Stanford University for a wide range of short-term study programs. Upon retirement from VIA, [Dwight] started Learning Across Borders, a non-profit educational organization which offers experiential programs in Southeast Asia for Japanese and Taiwanese university students. He shares his time between California and Asia.