Boonsanong Punyodyana (Thai: บุญสนอง บุณโยทยาน; rtgs: Bunsanong Bunyothayan) was a Thai politician and General secretary of the Socialist Party of Thailand. He was assassinated on February 28, 1976.
After graduating from Chulalongkorn University in 1959, he worked for the Thai government, preparing English translations of official manuals. His skill in English and his familiarity with the Thai governmental structure gained him employment with the United States Information Service in Bangkok as a writer and researcher. In 1962, he won a Fulbright-Hayes Scholarship to study for the master's degree in sociology at the University of Kansas. At that point, one would not have predicted that he would one day lead student demonstrators to rip the brazen eagle from the gate of the U.S. Embassy on Wireless Road, as he did following the Mayaguez incident. After receiving the M.A., Boonsanong returned to Thailand where he joined the staff of Thammasat University as a lecturer in sociology. In 1967 he returned to the U.S. and spent five extremely productive years there. He completed a Ph.D. in sociology at Cornell University, published several articles, spent a year at Harvard University and another year as Visiting Professor at the University of Hawai'i.
By the time of his return to Thailand in 1972, he had established himself as an internationally recognized scholar in his field. It was a record that few of his colleagues in Thailand could equal, including those who were many years his senior. Back at Thammasat University in June 1972, he immediately became one of the university's leading activists. This was a time of general intellectual ferment. Boonsanong was in his element, writing papers, attending meetings, carrying out research, organizing and lecturing to hundreds of rapt and enthusiastic young people. The student movement which was to overthrow the military dictatorship was beginning and Thammasat was its epicenter.
Dr. Boonsanong Punyodyana fell to an assassin's bullet at about 1:30 a.m. on 28 February 1976. At the time of his death, he was the Secretary-General of the Socialist Party of Thailand. There is little doubt that his death was politically motivated. Since few among Thailand's ruling elite regretted his passing, not many expect his murderers to be apprehended. He will be sorely missed however, by his wife and two daughters, by his academic colleagues, and by the Thai people.