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Vol 9 No 2

MU Confers Honorary Doctorate Degrees

The honorary degree recipients with MU executives.

     On 4 July at the annual Mahidol University (MU) Graduation Ceremony, MU conferred Honorary Doctorate degrees on eight distinguished individuals in recognition of their outstanding contributions in a variety of medical science and public service fields. The Conferees were graciously bestowed their degrees at the Ceremony by H.R.H. Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn.

     Each of the recipients was undoubtedly deserving of this honor. His Excellency Mr. Ryutaro Hashimoto (seated in photo, 4th from right) has a long and distinguished career as a government official in his native country of Japan, where he has served in numerous prominent positions, most notably as Prime Minister. Under his leadership, he was responsible for the development of what has become known as the Hashimoto Initiative, a global parasite control program. One successful outcome was the establishment of the Asian Center of International Parasite Control at MU's Faculty of Tropical Medicine, which has had a strong impact on promoting parasite control programs in the Greater Mekong Sub-region countries. His Excellency Mr. Hashimoto was conferred a degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Clinical Tropical Medicine, Honoris Causa.

     Assoc. Prof. Porapan Punyaratabundha (2nd from left), formerly Dean of MU's Faculty of Public Health and holder of several MU executive posts as well as Thai government advisory positions, is a well known and widely published researcher in epidemiology. Her work, which has included various international projects working with such agencies as WHO and UNICEF, has contributed greatly to public health teaching and development at all community levels in numerous countries. She was conferred a degree of Doctor of Public Health, Honoris Causa.

     Assoc. Prof. Suchin Vichitkarn (far right) was granted a Doctor of Nursing Science, Honoris Causa. Highly respected within the nursing profession, Assoc. Prof. Suchin had a significant role in the development of nursing ethics in both its educational and practical aspects. She was also entrusted with executive positions at the Department of Nursing of the Faculty of Medicine, Ramathibodi Hospital, as well as other related organizations.

     Assoc. Prof. Subarn Panvisavas (far left) was honored with a Doctor of Arts in Public Administration, Honoris Causa, recognized for his active role in the establishment of many of MU's degree programs, including the Master of Arts in Public Administration, Master of Education in Educational Management and Ph.D. in Health Social Sciences programs. Assoc. Prof. Subarn previously held many executive positions, including Executive Vice President and member of the University Council.

     Prof. Somsak Chuckpaiwong (2nd from right), granted a Doctor of Philosophy in General Dentistry, Honoris Causa, is recognized as the founder of the Department of Hospital Dentistry at MU's Faculty of Dentistry, which led to significant development of research, teaching and training in the field. He also played a significant role in the development of professional training in 10 relevant areas of dentistry. He was the former Dean of the Faculty of Dentistry and has recently been appointed as a Deputy Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of University Affairs.

     Dr. Orawan Khunwisarn, formerly with the Ministry of Public Health, has been working for public causes since 1967 and is widely recognized for her devoted service to government, society and the Buddhist religion. Her past positions include Chairperson of the Higher Education Association, the Women Medical Association and the Volunteer Association of Thailand, and member of the Administration Committee of the Social Work Association. Among her many good works, she donated money and land for the establishment of MU's College of Religious Studies and its Training Center. She was awarded a Doctor of Philosophy in Religious Studies, Honoris Causa.

     Prof. Dr. Poonpit Amatyakul (3rd from left) was granted a degree of Doctor of Science in Communication Disorders, Honoris Causa, for his outstanding contributions to the science of audiology, and his pioneering efforts in introducing audiology to Thailand. Prof. Dr. Poonpit established Thailand's first audiology clinic after studying in the US, and later joined MU's Faculty of Medicine, Ramathibodi Hospital, where he established Thailand's first master program in communication disorders. He also established the first hearing conservation program in Southeast Asia, and founded MU's Ratchasuda College (for the Disabled), the first college in the region for persons with disabilities, and the first to offer a degree in deaf studies.

     Lastly, Dr. Frank J. Gonzalez (3rd from right) also attended the Ceremony to receive the honorary degree he was officially awarded in 2000. He has a world-renowned reputation as an outstanding research scientist exploring the pharmacology of cancer. Working since 1982 at the U.S. National Institutes of Health, where he is currently Chief of the Laboratory of Metabolism, his greatest discoveries have concentrated on the genetic polymorphism of cytochrome P450, gene regulation of drug metabolizing enzymes, and molecular carcinogenesis. He has also devoted himself to the development of Pharmacology in Southeast Asia, particularly Thailand, collaborating for many years with MU's Faculty of Science and hosting many MU researchers in the U.S. He was conferred a degree of Doctor of Science in Pharmacology, Honoris Causa.