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Student remembered for dedication

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Victor Charoonratana to receive posthumous bachelor’s degree.

Carly Hill
News Editor
Natalie Veissalov
Life Editor

Victor Charoonratana, 25, senior international studies major, died in February in his sleep from unknown causes.

“When we found him, it looked as if he was asleep, but he didn’t wake up. It was as if someone put an Avada Kedavra curse on him,” said Victoria Charoon­ratana, the sister of Mr. Charoonratana.

Mr. Charoonratana was in good health, and took no medications, she said.

He was a commuter from Alta Loma, and enjoyed learning Thai and looking at maps.

“Victor was a student in one of my very difficult classes,” said Jonathan Reed, interim dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.

“He worked tirelessly to memorize facts, rewrite papers, and inquire about details on assignments. I worked him very hard and was not sure he liked me. But after that semester, he would always greet me with a smile. He was respectful, polite, and inquisitive. We would meet on campus almost daily, and he would come by my office weekly to discuss the weather, the differences between the Thai and English language, or the Buddhist and Christian traditions,” Reed said.

“He will be missed,” Reed said.

Gitty Amini, associate professor of political science, was Mr. Charoonratana’s adviser.

Amini knew him for three and half years.

She first became concerned about him when she received an e-mail from the registrar’s office earlier this semester that he had withdrawn. Shortly after, she received an e-mail.

“My initial reaction was shock,” Amini said.

“He was very young. He was healthy and vibrant,” Amini said.

Amini said Mr. Charoonratana was determined, focused and always friendly. “He was very curious and inquisitive,” Amini said.

When Mr. Charoonratana did not pass a class, he retook it and passed.

“I really admire him. He managed to overcome his difficulties,” Amini said.

“He was a real inspiration to all of us,” said Richard Gelm, chairman of the department of history and political science. “He persevered and worked harder than most students.”

“His death is a great blow to the department,” said Gelm, who taught Mr. Charoonratana American government and politics. “He will be greatly missed.”

“Victor had special place in our community,” Reed said.

“He was close to graduating from college, an accomplishment my father and I weren’t sure he was capable of just a few years ago. Every time I came home from college, I saw that Victor’s vocabulary, the sophistication of his thoughts, and his ability to relate to others had grown in leaps and bounds. I know that I have … the ULV faculty to thank for that. Thank you for helping him maximize his potential,” said Victoria Charoonratana, said in an e-mail.

She also said he was a remarkable person.

“He spent almost all his Saturdays accompanying my mother to do her errands. He was devoted to the people he loved,” Victoria Charoonratana said.

“He liked learning about people. He would memorize the birthdays of all the people close to him, and still wrote letters to many of his elementary and middle school teachers semi-regularly,” Victoria Charoonratana said.

Mr. Charoonratana was five credits away from graduating. He will be awarded a posthumous degree.

Mr. Charoonratana is survived by his parents, Suthep and Vena, and his sister, Victoria.

Funeral services will be held at 1:30 p.m. Sunday at Hollywood Forever, 6000 Santa Monica Blvd. Hollywood, CA 90038.

Carly Hill can be reached at
Natalie Veissalov can be reached at

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