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Thailand university awards Deaton honorary degree

Brady J Deaton

Chancellor Brady J. Deaton accepted an honorary degree from Khon Kaen University. Photo by Nicholas Benner

Wearing a Thai gown trimmed with bright stripes, Chancellor Brady J. Deaton accepted an honorary degree from Khon Kaen University Feb. 23, 2012, during a ceremony in the Donald W. Reynolds Alumni Center.

Deaton is the Thailand university’s first recipient of an honorary doctorate in public administration, which teaches public affairs management.

After thanking the five-person delegation in their native tongue, Deaton switched to English to share his personal and professional connection to Thailand.

In 1962, Deaton was a young Peace Corps volunteer teaching at a vocational agricultural school in northern Thailand. During his two years in the country, he grew to respect the people, their culture and their emphasis on education.
On return visits to Thailand, Deaton observed how the country’s growing economy raised the quality of life for its citizens. He said the country’s commitment to education helped spur economic growth.

“There was a vision in education” that helped give today’s 65 million Thais a better standard of living than they had in the 1960s, he said.

In recent years, Deaton has given administrative assistance to Thailand and other Southeast Asian countries. He offered expertise on the 1997 Asian economic crash and after the 2004 tsunami that struck Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India and Thailand.
Peerasit Kamnuansilpa, adviser to the dean for research and international affairs at the Thailand university, told Deaton at the ceremony that the honorary degree is only “a small reflection of your many contributions to Thailand.”

Kamnuansilpa, PhD ’75, finished by telling Deaton, “You are now a KKU alumnus.”