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Thai Catholic university honors pioneering educator

Montfort Brother Martin Prathip Komolmas is hailed for pioneering education for over four decades
Martin Prathip Komolmas, a Montfort brother and pioneering educator is seen in this file image.

Martin Prathip Komolmas, a Montfort brother and pioneering educator is seen in this file image. (Photo: The Assumption University, Thailand)

Published: November 13, 2023 11:36 AM GMT
Updated: November 13, 2023 11:54 AM GMT

A top Catholic university in Thailand has honored an elderly religious brother for his “tireless dedication” to developing the institute and providing education to thousands of young people.

The Assumption University in Bangkok hailed Gabriel Brother Martin Prathip Komolmas, 90, as its “mentor and guiding light” during a Thanksgiving Mass on Nov. 11. The Mass was a part of the 90th birthday of Komolmas, a former rector of the university.

“His ability to connect with diverse individuals is exceptional, and his foresight has profoundly shaped our institution,” said Brother Magnificus Bancha Saenghiran, the university’s current rector.

The Mass was presided over by Cardinal Michael Michai Kitbunchu, the 94-year-old retired bishop of Bangkok, at the Suvarnabhumi campus of the university in the presence of bishops, priests, religious and dignitaries from Thailand and abroad.

Cardinal Francis Xavier Kriengsak Kovitvanit, the current archbishop of Bangkok, was among the co-celebrants.

Komolmas, a member of the Montfort Brothers of Saint Gabriel congregation, served as the rector of the university from 1978 to 2002.

“Under his visionary leadership, the university campus blossomed, witnessing the birth of iconic structures such as the modern marvel of Suvarnabhumi Campus and the magnificent Cathedral of Learning,” the university said, Pattaya Mail reported on Nov. 6.

In a press release issued on Nov. 5, the university lauded Komolmas for his “tireless service.”

“Throughout his illustrious career, [Komolmas] has dedicated himself to the betterment of educational institutions, tirelessly serving on school boards and advisory committees,” the university said.

He headed the efforts to upgrade the status of the then-private college to that of comprehensive research and teaching private university in Thailand.

He also led the infrastructure development of the university to accommodate the increasing number of students through facility expansions including the planning and construction of the ultra-modern Suvarnabhumi campus.

Currently, the university has students from more than 70 countries.

Komolmas’ “visionary ideas have been transformed into reality, creating an environment where collective aspirations flourish,” the university said.

He was born in Bangkok and was drawn to religious life attracted by the works of Catholic nuns and priests.

After his school studies, Komolmas joined the Montfort brothers. In 1958, he completed his bachelor’s degree in economics from Loyola College at the University of Madras in Chennai, southern India.

Following his return to Thailand, Komolmas began an illustrious 42-year-long career that ended with his retirement in 2002. 

Komolmas is widely regarded as a visionary for his efforts in the modernization of teaching methods by adopting technology.

In 1982, he invited experts from Japan to train teachers, staff, and students on how to use computers for teaching, learning, and other activities.

Komolmas has been honored with accolades from various countries for his academic excellence. Seven universities including those from the US, UK, the Philippines, and Thailand conferred him with honorary doctoral degrees.

The Thai government honored him with five royal decorations in 1974, 1986, 1988, 2004, and 2010.

The French government accorded him Commandeur dans l’ Ordre des Palmes Académiques (Order of Academic Palms), a national recognition for distinguished academics and teachers, in 2006.

On June 27, 2010, the late Pope Benedict XVI awarded Komolmas the Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice (For Church and Pope), a decoration in the Catholic Church for clergy and laypeople.

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