In 1962 the Department of Provincial Administration was assigned by the Thai government, through the Southern Development Committee, to initiate a project to set up a university in southern Thailand in accordance with the Southern Development plan. In the beginning, the Southern Thailand University Project Committee intended to set up a college of Arts and Sciences first before developing further into a full fledged university. The work had progressed smoothly to the stage that the committee had decided to survey and decide upon the area on which the university would be built. The first area chosen for surveying was “Tung Naren, Botong village, NongJig district, Pattani Province. However, the work of this committee came to a temporary stop due to budget curtailment in 1963 and due to the change of government. The work was resumed after a new Southern Development Committee was formed, headed by His Excellency Colonel Thanat Khoman, Minister of Foreign Affairs.
In 1965 the cabinet approved in principle, that the main campus of the university was to be at Ruesamilae village (now a subdistrict), Muang District, Pattani Province, and additional faculties or campuses were to be subsequently established in several other southern provinces. It was originally planned that the Faculty of Engineering, Faculty of Education and Faculty of Political Science, Faculty of Medicine, Faculty of Commerce and Accountancy be located at Pattani Province, Yala Province, Muang district Songkla Provinces and Hat Yai district Songkla Province respectively.
The Southern Thailand University Establishment Committee, set up in 1965 with Colonel Thanat Khoman as its chairman, was entrusted with the task of overseeing the construction of necessary university facilities and administering the fledgling institution. In the beginning the administration format of the university was in the form of a committee (the Southern Thailand University Establishment Committee) with its chairman, colonel Thanat Khoman, acting as the president of the university, and professor Stang Mongkolsuk as acting vice president. With temporary administration office situated in Bangkok, at a building of the Faculty of Science, University of Medicine (now a building of the Faculty of Pharmacy, Mahidol University), construction was commenced at Rusamilae, Pattani Province in 1966. While the institution was being built, for lack of an official name, the name of “Southern University” was adopted.
In order that the university would be a center of the hearts and minds of Thai people as well as to bring good fortune, prosperity and success to the university, it was humbly requested that His Majesty the King bestowed a name on the university. On September 22, 1967 His Majesty the King graciously granted the university the name “Prince of Songkla University” in honor of his beloved father, His Royal Highness Somdej Chao Fa Mahidol Adulyadej Kromma Luang Songkla Nakarin. In commemoration of this auspicious occasion, the university has since proclaimed September, 22 of every year as “Songkla Nakarin Day”, one of the important dates in the calendar of yearly events of the university.
In 1967, while still at its temporary site in Bangkok, the first group of 50 students enrolled in engineering programs in the Faculty of Engineering, the first faculty of the university. the Faculty of Science was also set up to service the teaching of basic science, humanities, and social science subjects to the students. The teaching of basic engineering subjects of practical nature were carried out with the co-operation of the Military Technical Training School. The first batch of 5 teaching staff members recruited by the university were, Dr. Pradit Sheoychitra, Dr. Nart Tuntawiroon, Dr. Prida Wibulswas, Dr. Siripong Sripipat, and Mr. Yenchai Laohavanich.
While the construction of campus at Pattani was in progress, Prof. Stang Monkolsuk took the newly recruited teaching staffs on an on-site inspection of the campus. After which opinions prevailed that since the Pattani site is a seashore area, very high humidity and sea water vapor would lead to prohibitive maintenance cost for the up-keeping of the engineering laboratory equipments and engineering teaching facilities (which mainly would be of metal or electronics equipments) if the Faculty of Engineering were to situated there. It had been agreed to relocate the Faculty of Engineering to a new site to be decided upon later, and planned to establish the Faculty of Education and other faculties related to arts and social sciences at Pattani site instead. After a long search, it was decided that the Faculty of Engineering should be located in Hat Yai District, Songkla Province. Lady Atthakraweesunthorn, the surviving widow of Phraya Atthakraweesunthorn, who owned several plots of lands in the area had been approached. She kindly agreed to donate a plot of land total 690 rai (approximately 276 acres) at Tambon Korhong, Hat Yai district, Songkla Province to be used as a new campus of Prince of Songkla University upon which the Faculty of Engineering would be located.
In 1968 the parliament passed Prince of Songkla University Act, which became effective on March 13 of that year. Prince of Songkla University thus proclaimed March 13 as its “Foundation Day”. On April 8, 1968 there was a royal decree established officially the first three organizational units in the university, namely the office of the president, Faculty of Engineering and Faculty of Science. On April 17, 1968 a royal command was issued announcing His Excellency Colonel Thanat Khoman as the president of the university. Prof. Stang Mongkolsuk become again the vice president. In June 1968 the first group of 58 students enrolled in education programs in the Faculty of Education, with 33 major in Science and 25 in Liberal Arts. All the students of the Faculty of Education also studied at the temporary site in Bangkok. On November 9, 1968 all staffs and students of the Faculty of Education were moved to Pattani campus while those of the Faculty of Engineering were still in Bangkok. On December 5, 1968 there was a royal decree officially added the Faculty of Education as an organizational unit of the university.
The Faculty of Science enrolled its first group of students, 60 in all, in 1969 academic year, and in that year construction at Hat Yai campus were started. On July 5, 1971 when it was partially completed, about two hundreds of all 2nd – 4th year students and staffs of the Faculty of Engineering were moved to the new campus at Hat Yai, while first year engineering students still studied in Bangkok. Not until at the beginning of the first semester of academic year 1972 was the moving of students and staffs of the Faculty of Engineering to Hat Yai campus completed.
Realizing that computer application would play an important and increasing roll in the academic realm, a plan to set up the university computer center was drawn up as early as 1975. In order to increase its engagement with local communities, the university decided to set up a community college at Phuket Province in 1977, the first commuity college in Thailand. The Faculty of Medicine, the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, the Faculty of Management sciences and the Faculty of Natural Resources were established in 1973, 1975, 1976 and 1977 respectively. Enrollment of students into the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences started in 1979, the same year with the starting operation of the Graduate School. After more than 5 years under the umbrella of the Faculty of Medicine, the Faculty of Nursing was formally established in 1980.
First enrollment of students into the Faculty of Dentistry and the formal establishment of the Computer Center of the university both occurred in 1983. In the same year, by setting up a server “Sritrang.psu.th” which was the first server in Thailand, Prince of Songkla University became Thailand’s first gateway to the Internet. The first message sent from the Computer Center Prince of Songkla University to a server at the University of Melbourne on June 2, 1988 heralded the dawn of the Internet era in Thailand. As befitted its Pattani Campus which is situated in the area of diverse cultural background predominantly of Islamic culture, Prince of Songkla University established the College of Islamic Studies at Pattani Campus in 1989.
Since then the university has progressed at an accelerated rate to its present state. After more than forty years of existence, Prince of Songkla University has become a university with four campuses and one education service area with the number of students reaching thirty thousands. Prince of Songkla University now consists of 25 faculties offering 238 programs of study, which are composed of 20 programs of doctoral or equivalent level, 9 programs of specialization in medicine, 86 programs of master degree level, 2 programs of graduate diploma level and 121 programs (4 – 6 year programs of study) of bachelor degree level.
As an institution of higher learning, Prince of Songkla University is committed to academic excellence, reputable research and innovation. It has contributed significantly to the development of the country and consistently turned out well qualified graduates of high professional standing. The university is proud of its distinguished record of achievements in teaching, research, development and services to communities.