New Thai Pipe Co. Ltd., Scholarship for American graduate of Virginia Military Institute, USA

Thai Pipe Industry Co., Ltd., will support a new full scholarship for a bachelor’s degree graduate of Virginia Military Institute (VMI), USA, to study for a master’s degree at AIT beginning in August 2015. It will be the first time in AIT’s history that a scholarship is earmarked for an American citizen.
The announcement was made by Thai Pipe Managing Director and AIT alumnus Dr. Yanyong Phataralaoha (D. Eng. AIT, 1986), while visiting AIT on January 28, 2015. Himself a VMI bachelor’s degree graduate, Dr. Yangyong was joined by a delegation of Royal Thai Armed Forces (RTAF) senior officers who are all fellow alumni of VMI.AIT President Prof. Worsak Kanok-Nukulchai welcomed Dr. Yanyong back to AIT and the alumni delegation led by Gen. Surapong Suwana-adth, Deputy Chief of Joint Staff of Royal Thai Armed Forces (RTAF) and the Board Chair of Telephone Organization of Thailand (TOT). Gen. Surapong is currently the President of Thailand’s Virginia Military Institute
(VMI) Alumni Chapter.

President Worsak thanked Dr. Yanyong for his tremendous generosity to his alma mater, AIT. He added his sincere appreciation for the strong support of the Thai Royal Family and the Royal Thai Government to AIT, over many decades.Accompanying them were five other alumni of VMI who are all high-ranking RTAF officers. The visitors included Col. Somkiat Sampan (VMI,1987), Deputy Director of Defense Science and Technology Office, Defense Science and Technology Department; Wing Commander Pradermchai Ponlawan (VMI, 1995), Head of Planning Subdivision, Airfield Division, Civil Engineering Directorate, RTAF; LTC. Surapap Prompattaraporn (VMI, 1999) Development Engineer Unit Commander, 46 Mobile Development Unit, Armed Forces Development Command, RTAF; and Lt. Col. Wasan Patwichaichote, Lecturer, Department of Civil Engineering, Chulachomklao Royal Military Academy, Thailand. Mr. Scott Bradley (VMI, 1986), a visiting VMI alumnus from the United States, also attended.

The delegation discussed details of the proposed Thai Pipe Scholarship to support a fresh U.S. graduate of Virginia Military Institute (VMI) to attend AIT. Fields of study which could be offered to the VMI scholar include Construction, Engineering and Infrastructure Management, Water Engineering and Management, Environmental Engineering and Management, Urban Environmental Management, and Urban Water Engineering and Management.

The idea of bringing a VMI graduate to study at AIT came from Dr. Yanyong who received his bachelor's degree from VMI in 1977 and earned his doctorate at AIT in 1986. It is a gesture of appreciation of the VMI alumni in Thailand to their U.S. alma mater. Dr. Yanyong believes it will provide an opportunity for a young American to experience postgraduate study in the context of Asia and to network with a broad range Asian students at AIT, while living in Thailand and experiencing its society and culture.

Gen. Surapong thanked Dr. Yanyong for his initiative, on behalf of the VMI Thailand Alumni Association. He expressed hope that the scholarship would strengthen Thai-U.S. relations, and lead to increased interaction between AIT and Thailand.

Thai Pipe Industry Co. Ltd, Thailand’s leading PVC pipe manufacturer, in December 2014 donated three academic scholarships worth 2.256 million Thai baht for students from Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar to attend the Asian Institute of Technology.

In the meeting, President Worsak also proposed the idea of establishing official collaboration between AIT and VMI, particularly the running of an Engineering Leadership Program at AIT.