NIU awards honorary doctorate to Thai princess

DEKALB – A visiting Thai princess has received an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters degree from Northern Illinois University.

Maha Chakri Sirindhorn visited the DeKalb campus Wednesday to receive the degree as the school marked the 50th anniversary of its Center for Southeast Asian Studies.

The 58-year-old, who is second oldest daughter of Thailand’s King Bhumibol Adulyadej, is known as the “princess of technology” for her interest in science and technology. She already holds advanced degrees in history, languages and educational development and is the head of the history department at the Chulachomklao Royal Military Academy in Thailand.

“She has placed great importance on science education knowing that applications of science will drive her country’s development,” NIU President Douglas Baker said.

Sirindhorn’s 85-year-old father ascended to the throne in 1946 and is now the world’s longest-serving monarch.

Thailand has about 66 million people and is a constitutional monarchy. Its government is run by an elected parliament and prime minister.

During Wednesday’s ceremony, Sirindhorn said she was glad to highlight the relationship between the U.S. and Thailand.

“A friendship among different cultures no matter how far and how different they we are ... we can always be good friends,” she said.