Sam the Man
Theater & Dance
Then & Now
Today@Sam | Headlines | Calendar | Experts | Notices | Archives | Search
SHSU Group Visits Thai Prime Minister
The Huntsville Item
Sam Houston State University president James Gaertner, who left May 27 and returned June 8, used the first part of his trip to travel through Thailand and spent the last four days in Bangkok, where he met Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra and met with other SHSU alumni.
Thaksin earned a degree in criminal justice from SHSU, before returning to Thailand to start his businesses and eventually be elected prime minister.
"The purpose of the trip was to meet with the prime minister," Gaertner said. "He was a student here not too many years after I was a student and then went back to Thailand, and to say that he's successful is a masterful understatement."
Gaertner and a handful of other SHSU administrators met with Thaksin during a 45-minute meeting, during which Gaertner pinned a SHSU button to the prime minister's lapel, he said.
"He wanted to hear about the campus and what's going on and then he wanted to talk about his experiences," Gaertner said.
Gaertner said he and Thaksin spoke about life on campus -- Gaertner and his wife, Nancy, lived in some of the same places Thaksin and his wife lived when they were at SHSU.
While the group from SHSU was in Bangkok, they attended an alumni gathering at their hotel, which drew about 15 alumni who now live in Thailand, he said.
The chance to hear alumni talk about their lives at SHSU and to reminisce about their time on campus was one of the highlights of the entire trip, Gaertner said.
"It was just an unbelievable experience to hear how much people loved their education here," he said.
The trip offered a chance for SHSU to establish international contact for possible future exchanges with students and professors, Gaertner said.
"Part of education, in my judgment, is being exposed to other cultures and other times -- other times means history and other cultures means international -- and so its just beneficial to have contacts overseas," Gaertner said.
Gaertner and his wife traveled to northern Thailand, toured Buddhist temples and visited an elephant training camp during the first half of his visit. While in Bangkok, he visited a university Thaksin plans to open soon.
- END -
For more about Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, see Sam Houston State Grad is Prime Minister of Thailand.
This page maintained by SHSU's Office of Public Relations
Director: Frank Krystyniak
Communications Coordinator: Julia May
Located in the SHSU University Advancement Building
Telephone: 936.294.1836; Fax: 936.294.1834