In 1967, the University of North Texas’s One O’Clock Lab Band, was invited to the White House to play for Bhumibol Adulyadej. Adulyadej is also known as King Rama IX, the ninth monarch of the Chakri Dynasty. He is the longest-serving head of state and the longest-reigning monarch in Thailand’s history, having served since 1946. He is also an accomplished jazz musician and received an honorary music degree from UNT in 2003. Adulyadej, an accomplished player of saxophone, piano, clarinet and guitar, has performed with such legendary musicians as Jack Teagarden, Lionel Hampton, Benny Goodman, and Stan Getz. Trombonist and UNT alumnus Carl Murr was in involved with creating an arrangement for two pieces written by Adulyadej. Murr orchestrated the pieces for the One O’Clock Lab Band, who performed a private concert for Bhumibol Adulyadej when the University of North Texas presented him with a doctor of music composition and performance honoris causa on March 17, 2003.
In the spring of 1995 Charn Uswachoke from Bangkok, Thailand donated $1 million to UNT. Uswachoke is an alumnus who received his master’s degree in Business administration from UNT in 1973. His donation was the largest cash gift given to the university at the time. Charn Uswachoke was the chief executive officer of Alphatee Electronics Public Co. Ltd, Thailand’s largest assembler of integrated circuits. Former UNT Chancellor and President Alfred F. Hurley and his wife traveled to Bangkok to accept the gift from Uswachoke in person. The $1 million donation provided a boost to UNT International’s programs.
In winter 1995, Charn Uswachoke surpassed his previous donation by donating $1.2 million to UNT. The donation benefited three UNT departments
: the College of Music received $1 million, UNT International received $100,000, and the College of Business Administration received $100,000.
The third time was a charm for Usawachoke. In the summer of 2011, the alumnus, announced to UNT supporters via video conference from Bangkok about his plans to donate $22 million. This donation was to be used to aid UNT in becoming a top-tier research school. Uswachoke’s donation is the largest in UNT history.
Former UNT President V. Lane Rawlins met Uswachoke in Thailand and began discussing some areas he might want to support. Uswachoke expressed interest in music, engineering and business. President Rawlins returned with proposals from each college. Instead of picking from the three proposals, Uswachoke chose them all. The College of Engineering received $6.5 million, the College of Music received $10 million, and the College of Business received $5.5 million.
Bhumibol Adulyadej and Charn Uswachoke have made a huge impact in the Thailand and UNT communities. Like Uswachoke, many other Thai students have crossed an ocean to attend UNT. So many, in fact, that in 2013 UNT opened an office in Bangkok, Thailand to serve potential international students throughout Southeast Asia and more than 1,000 UNT alumni living in Thailand. The colleges at UNT each select an alumni ambassador who graduated from that college and now lives in Thailand, to reach out to prospective Thai students.
— by Amanda Montgomery, Assistant Processing Archivist
Knopp, Joshua. October 4, 2013. “University Opens Bangkok Office.” NT Daily. Retrieved from http://ntdaily.com/university-opens-bangkok-office/ .Accessed November 8, 2015.
UNT News. March 25, 2004 “King of Thailand treated to jazz Texas style”. Retrieved from http://news.unt.edu/news-releases/king-thailand-treated-jazz-texas-style. Accessed November 17, 2015.
University of North Texas. The North Texan. Volume 45, Number 1, March 1995. Denton, Texas. UNT Digital Library. http://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc119092/. Accessed November 8, 2015.
University of North Texas. The North Texan. Volume 45, Number 4, Winter 1995. Denton, Texas. UNT Digital Library. http://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc119099/. Accessed November 8, 2015.
University of North Texas. UNT Inhouse. September 19, 2013.“UNT to boost Thailand, ASEAN recruiting with new office in Bangkok.” Retrieved from https://news.unt.edu/news-releases/unt-boost-thailand-asean-recruiting-new-office-bangkok. Accessed November 8, 2015.
Zabel, Matthew. August 16, 2011 “Thai Man Sets UNT Donation.” Denton Record Chronicle. Retrieved from http://www.dentonrc.com/local-news/education/higher-education-headlines/20110816-thai-man-sets-unt-donation-record.ece. Accessed November 8, 2015.
Zabel, Matthew. August 17,2011. “Thai businessman donates $22 million to University of North Texas.” Denton Record Chronicle. Retrieved from http://www.dallasnews.com/news/education/headlines/20110817-thai-businessman-donates-22-million-to-university-of-north-texas.ece. Accessed November 8, 2015.