Dr. Viravan received three degrees from the University of Michigan. He first received an M.BA. with Distinction in 1954. His second degree was an MA in Economics in 1957 swiftly followed by a PhD in Business Administration in 1958. He later received an honorary Doctor of Laws in 1990.
His public service career started in 1963 when he served in Thailand’s Ministry of National Development. He later entered politics ascending to the position of Minister of Finance on two separate terms, from 1980 to 1981 and 1996 to 1997, when he was also appointed Deputy Prime Minister.
Dr. Viravan remained a lifelong member of the Michigan community and returned to Ann Arbor many times. As Deputy Prime Minister in 1992, he delivered an address at William K. McInally Memorial Lecture entitled, “Trans-Pacific Cooperation: A Challenge in the 1990's.”
In 2007, together with the support of U-M alumni in Thailand, Dr. Viravan and his wife Khunying Samronsri generously established the Amnuay and Samornsri Viravan Thai Studies Endowment. Professor Allen Hicken, Chair of the Thai Studies Endowment Committee, remarked on the lasting impact of the Viravan gift. “Their generosity has enabled hundreds of Michigan faculty and students to conduct research in Thailand independently and in collaboration with Thai partners, tackling a wide range of issues and challenges.”
Dr. Viravan separately established the Thai Professorship of Theravada Buddhism, with matching support provided by the Crown Property Bureau. Dr. Viravan stated that his intention was to dedicate the endowed chair to His Majesty the late King of Thailand Bhumibol Adulayej, Rama IX. Professor Benjamin Brose, Chair of the Department of Asian Languages and Cultures, noted that, “through the generosity and vision of Dr. Viravan, generations of Michigan undergraduate and graduate students now have the opportunity to learn about the rich traditions of Thai Buddhism.” The professorship will be held by incoming professor Trent Walker.
He is survived by his wife Khunying Samornsri Viravan and three children Rosanaporn Viravan, Amornpimol Viravan, and Takonkiet Viravan and grandchildren..
Funeral rites will be conducted at Sala Sitthisayamkarn or Sala 4 at Wat That Thong in Bangkok from Wednesday to next Tuesday.
We, at the University of Michigan, offer our deepest and sincerest condolences to the Viravan Family. Dr. Viravan’s lifelong dedication to the University of Michigan will always remain a treasured memory and blessing.