Former AIT President Prof. Alastair M. North O.B.E. passes away

Former AIT President Prof. Alastair M. North O.B.E. passes away

Message to AIT Community: Sent on behalf of AIT President Dr. Eden Woon

Dear AIT Family,

It is with heavy hearts that we announce the passing away of former AIT President Professor Alastair Macarthur North. He passed away peacefully at his home in Bangkok, Thailand on 4 July 2020. He was 88 years old.

Prof. Alastair M. North O.B.E

In 1987, AIT presented (President Alastair M. North, pictured) its first Gold Medal to His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand in recognition of His Majesty’s Outstanding Leadership in Rural Development.

Born in Aberdeen, Scotland, Prof. North was the fourth and longest-serving president in the history of AIT. He served as president from 1983 until his retirement in 1996. Prof. North’s last formal engagement at AIT was as a panelist speaker at the H.E. Dr. Thanat Khoman Lecture Series held at the AIT Robert B. Banks Auditorium on 20 February 2018. Prof. North also delivered the Graduation Address (afternoon session), at the 127th Graduation Ceremony of the Asian Institute of Technology on 19 May 2017.

Prof. Alastair M. North addresses the 127th Graduation Ceremony of AIT on 19 May 2017.


Prior to joining AIT, Prof. North was the Deputy Principal of the University of Strathclyde in the United Kingdom. AIT President Eden Woon noted Prof. North’s stellar academic career spanning Scotland and Thailand when he spoke on June 16 at an international webinar hosted by the University of Strathclyde.

Upon hearing the sad news about Prof. North, President Woon said: “We at AIT are saddened by the news of the passing of Professor Alastair North. He was at the helm of AIT for 13 years at a time of AIT’s glory, and we thank him for his dedication and efforts and devotion to AIT. I know that those who came across him at that time, whether students or faculty or staff, remember him well as a leader, a scholar, and a gentleman, and appreciate his contributions to AIT. We offer our sincerest condolences to his family members.”

President North’s work in AIT was recognized by the honours of the Officer in the Most Illustrious Order of the British Empire (U.K.), Commandeur dans l’Ordre des Palmes Académiques (France), Commander in the Order of King Leopold II (Belgium), Prasidda Prabala Gorkha Dakshin Bahu (Nepal) and the Honorary Degrees: Doctor of Philosophy (Ramkhamhaeng University, honoris causa, Thailand), Doctor of the University (University of Strathclyde, honoris causa, U.K.), Docteur Honoris Causa (Institut National Polytechnique de Toulouse, France), Doctor of Technology (AIT, honoris causa) and Doctor of Laws (Aberdeen, honoris causa). He was also appointed as a visiting professor at Chiang Mai University and Mahidol University in Thailand.

Prof. Alastair M. North was an honored panelist at the Milton E. Bender Lecture on 20 February 2018 as part of the H.E. Dr. Thanat Khoman Lecture Series sponsored by the John F. Kennedy Foundation of Thailand.

-Office of International Affairs / AIT