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
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.