January 25, 2023 marks the 59th Anniversary of Khon Kaen University, showing the 59 years of Khon Kaen University as a creative and socially dedicated institution. Now, we are ready to step onto the 60th year in 2024 with stability and strength.
“The foundation of Khon Kaen University as another university is a great benefit, for higher education is expanded into one of the important regions of the country. It is going to be advantageous to the development and upgrading of the ways of living of people in this region. The success of Khon Kaen University’s foundation is the success everyone should be content with.” This was the oration given by His Majesty King Rama IX when HM came to formerly and officially open the University on the 20th day of December, 2510 B.E.
Khon Kaen University is the first university of the Northeast that was founded in accordance with the policy to expand higher education to the regions under the First National Economic Development Plan. The objective was to develop manpower and bodies of knowledge for solving problems in the Northeast, which is the region with big area and one third population of the country. Going back to the year 1962, the Government of Prime Minister Field Marshal Sarit Thanarat resolved the establishment of a higher education institution to offer programs in engineering and agriculture in Khon Kaen Province. In 1963, the appointed sub-committee at that time agreed on the selection of Ban Si Than to construct the university. The total area was roughly 5,500 rais. The place was 4 kilometers far from the city of Khon Kaen. Then, on June 9, 1964, construction was commenced for the “Faculty of Science and Art” building. The first class of Khon Kaen University students, 107 in number, was enrolled as of June 24, 1964. In 1966, His Majesty King Rama IX had the royal command for issuance of the Khon Kaen University Act. This was proclaimed in the Government Gazette on January 25, 1966, and the date became the official foundation day of the University of Social Devotion.”
Counting from that day until now, it is already 59 years, the period in which Khon Kaen University has continually developed. If the developmental success of the administration of the University is taken into account, there are 3 eras of the success as follows:
The First Era – the age of continuous establishment and expansion of the University. The period was long, stretching over nearly 2 decades from 1964 until 2003.
The Second Era – the age of development and construction of bodies of knowledge for the University development. In addition to programs or curricular development to prepare graduates according to the requirements of the community, research is another important mission of the University. Research was dedicated to knowledge construction and academic services for the society and community at the same time. The period from 1984 to 2003 marked the development and construction of knowledge for community services, with a program development division established along with the strengthening of research capacity.
The Third Era – the age the University is stepping forward as a research university and a leading research university. This era began in 2014 until the present time. It is the age of transformation from globalization where the growth in academic and technologies is leaping and the socio-economic changes bring impacts everywhere in the world. The national free trade policy and the revolution of achievement-based state administration have taken into account the strategic management concept. During this period, the growth of Khon Kaen University is evident, with the organization becoming bigger. On July 18, 2015, Khon Kaen University was transformed from a public university into “an autonomous university”.
It was during this period that Khon Kaen University has developed itself as a Lifelong Learning Center, with the campus area renovated as the social learning park. For instance, the areas around Si Than Lake and around the Sports Center of the University have been assigned as the Sport Parks. The areas are open for people from outside to use. A natural history museum, a science museum, and Nongkhai Aquarium were established. The former forest zone has been well conserved as a natural bird watch area. An Agro Park has been developed to provide full-cycle agricultural knowledge. A Culture Park has also been established to provide cultural knowledge and a venue for activities. More importantly, Khon Kaen University has been assessed, at the institutional level, faculty level and program level, from both internal and external organizations, based on the national and international standard evaluation criteria, which reiterates the quality administrative standards.
From the propulsion of Khon Kaen University from the First Era until the Third Era, and the University’s 59th anniversary on the 25th of January, 2023; Khon Kaen University still holds on to the vision in becoming a “World Class Leading Research and Development University”. The Ministry of Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation (MHESI) has classified Khon Kaen University as a university in the group of world class research and development university. The University is now supporting the national policy of sustainable development goals (SDGs). This has led to Khon Kaen University being ranked by THE Impact Ranking the first in the country in SDG1 – No Poverty and SDG2 – Zero Hunger, and one among the top rank in SDG3 – Good Health, SDG4 – Quality Education, and SDG5 – Gender Equality.
Additionally, Khon Kaen University is determined to be a Green University, a center for research and development of innovation-based education of the region and ASEAN, a medical hub for health resolution of the Northeast, and is supporting the development of SMART CITY of Khon Kaen by creating innovations for community strength and happiness. In so doing, the University’s social devotion trait has been reflected that helps emphasizing the University’s being “a creative and socially dedicated institution”. We are ready to step onto the 60th year in 2024 with stability and strength.
News compiled by Banjamaporn Mamook
Photos: Khon Kaen University Archives / Communications Division, Office of the President, Khon Kaen University