Dedicated Fans

Written by: 
Jill King

Threekwan ('81 M.B.A.) and Arthivon BunnagTwo dedicated fans at the Mean Green football game Oct. 1 came from around the world to cheer on the team. Threekwan Bunnag (ʼ81 M.B.A.) and his wife, Arthivon, made the trip to Apogee Stadium from their home in Thailand.

Bunnag is chairman of the housing developer Threevantra Co. Ltd. and an independent director for several other businesses in Thailand. He remembers watching games at Fouts Field as an international graduate student.

"I was a big Dallas Cowboys fan," he says of his interest in American football. "Maybe that's why I chose UNT."

He credits a high school friend who came to Denton before him as a good source of information about the university. Bunnag began work on his graduate degree in 1979 and says in addition to going to football games, he played tennis on the courts near his apartment and spent time in the University Union.

"I liked to listen to the music in the Rock Bottom Lounge and went to $1 movie nights on Wednesdays," he remembers. "I also was familiar with the back door to the post office. I was always looking to see if mail had come."

But his most memorable moment came soon after he signed up for a UNT program that matched international students with local hosts. He was assigned Robert Toulouse, then dean and later namesake of the graduate school. That pairing led to a friendship that is still very strong.

Hosts in the program helped students practice their English and learn more about American culture.

"Whenever Dr. Toulouse had a party or a gathering with guests at his home, I would go -- maybe because I was hungry," Bunnag jokes. "I would also visit him at his office just to say hello. He was a busy man, but he would always ask about how I was doing and how my studies were going."

Bunnag says he appreciated the concern and encouragement.

"My studies were tough," he says. "As an M.B.A. student, I had to speak a lot in my classes, in a language that wasn't my first language."

Even after Bunnag graduated, the two kept in touch. Toulouse, who retired as Provost Emeritus, visited the Bunnags in Thailand, where there is a strong UNT alumni network, and the Bunnags now visit him each time they travel to the U.S.

This year's visit coincided with the Mean Green game. Even with the loss to Middle Tennessee, Bunnag enjoyed once again seeing the team, hearing the band -- and remembering his student days and the host who meant so much to him.

"Without UNT, I wouldn't have come this far," Bunnag says, "and without Dr. Toulouse, I'd be nothing. He's like a dad to me."