ISU Foundation establishes first international alumni club in Thailand

By: ISU Communications and Marketing Staff, ISU Communications and Marketing Staff
January 24, 2011

Honoring an educational exchange that goes back nearly six decades, the Indiana State University Foundation has established its first international alumni club in Thailand.

University President Dan Bradley; ISU Foundation President Gene Crume; Chris Hancock, executive director of the ISU Alumni Association; Alumni Association President Harold Gutzwiller of Mooresville and foundation board member Jo Einstandig of Terre Haute joined Thai alumni recently for a kickoff event in Bangkok.

Crume called the first officially organized international alumni club important to the university.

"Since the 1950s Indiana State has truly had an appeal around the globe, and this is an opportunity to recognize and celebrate this rich and diverse heritage," Crume said. "Although we could have chosen from several countries, the university has a sustained connection to the Thai people. Thailand is home to a significant number of alumni and other individuals who have a substantial connection to Indiana State. Plus, the university now has extensive academic and programmatic relationships with universities in Thailand."

Bradley said he was excited about visiting Indiana State's sister institutions in Thailand and meeting ISU's many distinguished alumni there.

"Furthering our presence in Thailand will build upon these long-standing relationships to provide many future opportunities for our students and faculty," Bradley said.

Saiyut Champatong, who completed a bachelor's degree in business from Indiana State in 1956 and a master's degree in 1961, was among distinguished ISU graduates on hand for the kickoff.

Champatong, former secretary general of the Rajabhat Institute Council, which oversees 41 higher education institutions in Thailand, was among the first Thai citizens to study at Indiana State. He has regularly returned to the ISU campus to work on projects in business education and has been honored by the university with the Albert Jones Medal in recognition of outstanding service to the university president and with the Lloyd W. Benjamin III Medal for Distinguished International Service.

Champatong's wife Ahorn, a retired faculty member from Srinakarinvirot University, holds a master's degree from Indiana State and the couple's daughter, Siri-Orn Champatong, took part in a three-week international business seminar at ISU in 2008.

Indiana State's partnership with Thailand has long been a two-way street. Education Professor Otto Shipla visited the country several times from the 1960s through the 1980s, becoming known to the Champatong family as "Uncle Shipla."

Indiana State's collaboration with higher education institutions in Thailand has expanded beyond business and education to include such areas as economics, nursing, languages, music and other fine arts.

The university is working abroad with countries such as Thailand, China and Morocco for strategic international partnerships in an effort to focus on countries and institutions that are most important to the university and have the greatest level of current or potential student involvement.

Contact: Chris Hancock, executive director, Alumni Association, Indiana State University, chancock@indstatefoundation.org.

Writer: Dave Taylor, media relations director, Office of Communications and Marketing, Indiana State University, 812-237-3743 or dave.taylor@indstate.edu.