“True success is not in the learning, but in its application to the benefit of mankind” — His Royal Highness Prince Mahidol of Songkla
On the 24th of September, Thailand observes a day of great significance, commemorating the passing of His Majesty the King in 1929. His name is etched in history for his profound contributions to higher education, particularly in the fields of basic sciences, public health, and medical research. Among the many achievements credited to him, two notable undertakings stand out, leaving an indelible mark on the advancement of both medical knowledge and resources in Thailand.
Prince Mahidol’s dedication to the advancement of medical and public health services was manifested through his personal philanthropy. He generously provided scholarships to Thai students, enabling them to pursue studies in basic and applied sciences in the United Kingdom, mainland Europe, and the United States. These scholars returned to Siam, becoming the first cohort of qualified educators who, in the spirit of “paying it forward,” contributed significantly to the progress of the medical field. Moreover, Prince Mahidol’s benevolence extended to the provision of modern equipment for teaching basic sciences, the construction of laboratories and classrooms, and his pivotal role as Chairman in the establishment of the Siriraj Medical School, which has since evolved into one of Thailand’s premier medical institutions. These initiatives, among others, have had a lasting and transformative impact on the medical and public health landscape, earning him the revered title of “Father of Medicine & Public Health of Thailand.”
In 1950, twenty-one years after His Majesty’s passing, graduates of the Faculty of Medicine Siriraj Hospital, who had been recipients of scholarships and support from Prince Mahidol, along with members of the public, united to construct a monument in his honor. The following year, the Faculty officially declared the 24th of September as Prince Mahidol Day, dedicating it to honoring His Majesty through significant events and commemorations. To further preserve his educational legacy, the Prince Mahidol Educational Foundation was established on January 1, 1992, commemorating the centenary of His Majesty’s birth. This foundation plays a pivotal role in organizing three Prince Mahidol Awards Ceremonies, the Prince Mahidol Award Conferences, and the Crown Prince’s Youth Award Program Scholarship.
Hence, every 24th of September is designated as Prince Mahidol Day, serving as a poignant reminder of his enduring contributions to the advancement of medical education in Thailand and his selfless devotion to the well-being of the Thai people.