Boonchai Songthumvat: educating Thailand

Boonchai Songthumvat, MS EMgt’76, is doing everything he can to make education possible for children in Thailand. Known as Boon, Songthumvat and his wife, Nuchanart, own Nuboon Co., a Bangkok-based manufacturer of fruit and vegetable juices, coffee and tea.

Boonchai Songthumvat, MS EMgt’76 (center back) serves breakfast to children at the Baan Wat Krasae School in Nakhon Phanom, Thailand. Photo by Nuboon Foundation Team

Boonchai Songthumvat, MS EMgt’76 (center back) serves breakfast to children at the Baan Wat Krasae School in Nakhon Phanom, Thailand. Photo by Nuboon Foundation Team

Nuboon is the first company of its kind in Thailand to pasteurize fruit juice. Boon and Nuchanart, a food scientist, got the idea to manufacture pasteurized juice as college students in the United States. The company opened in 1992, and today it supplies beverages throughout Thailand, Laos, Myanmar, Cambodia, the Middle East, the United States and South Africa.

“When the business was well-established, my wife and I thought that the best way to spend money would be to help children in need,” he says. So seven years ago they formed Nuboon Foundation. Its mission is simple — to help poor rural children stay in school.

“We think the most valuable social investment is in human education, particularly in children’s education,” Songthumvat says. “Children tend to quit school early if their families are poor and their parents lack education themselves.”

The foundation provides financial support to rural families in exchange for a promise to keep their kids in school. Foundation staff and volunteers prepare and serve breakfast to children before school so they can focus on their studies with full stomachs. Songthumvat provides similar incentives to his own staff.

“We do believe education could bring people out of poverty, raise their children better and have better living standards,” he says. “We not only support the employees’ children to stay in school, but also grant their children college scholarships and support the employees themselves if they wish to pursue higher education.”

Songthumvat and Nuchanart have also extended their generosity to Missouri S&T, giving $30,000 to the engineering management department. Songthumvat says he wanted to repay the kindness of those who helped him.

During his second year of grad school, Songthumvat ran out of money and planned to return to Thailand. Bernard Sarchet, then chair of engineering management, heard of his plight and offered him a scholarship to complete his degree.

“I always felt I was indebted to Missouri S&T,” Songthumvat says. “The kindness of the chair and his staff were imprinted in my mind.”

Around the Puck

Pushing the boundaries of space exploration

Space tourism could start in the next  two years, says Jeff Thornburg, AE’96, but it’s going to be expensive.

[Read More...]

EWB completes Guatemala project

After nearly a decade of work, a small Guatemalan village can now count on clean drinking water thanks to the Missouri S&T student chapter of Engineers Without Borders (EWB).

[Read More...]

Homecoming 2017

The Miner Alumni Association honored a select group of alumni during Homecoming for their accomplishments and their devotion to the association, the campus and its students.

[Read More...]

Dissolving electronics

Electronic devices that can not only be implanted in the human body but also completely dissolve on their own — known as “bioresorbable” electronics — are one of medical technology’s next frontiers.

[Read More...]

Automated kiosk speeds travel security

Your wait time at the airport could drop significantly thanks to a new automated security kiosk developed by Nathan Twyman, assistant professor of business and information technology.

[Read More...]