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Distinguished OGB's

Lyonchen Jigmi Yoser Thinley, Bhutan’s first democratically elected Prime Minister, who assumed office on April 9th, 2008, was a student at Dr. Graham’s Homes form 1962 to 1971.  At the Homes he excelled in debating and elocution, apart from possessing a good academic track record. His leadership qualities were recognized early in life when he was made School Captain, a role in which he demonstrated his leadership capability and potential for senior positions of leadership in the future.   After completing his education at Dr. Graham’s Homes, Lyonchen Jigmi Yoser Thinley went on to complete his undergraduate studies at Delhi University and then went on to complete his MPA from Pennsylvania State University. He joined the Civil Service of The Royal Kingdom of Bhutan  in 1977.

Lyonpo Thinley served as Secretary of the Royal Civil Service Commission from 1982 to 1986. During his tenure as Director and Head of the Department of Education from 1986 to 1987, he was awarded the title of Dasho and the Red Scarf, and in 1990, under the Zonal system, he became Administrator of the eastern zone. He later became Secretary in the Ministry of Home Affairs before being appointed Deputy Minister of Home Affairs in January 1994.

He was awarded the Orange Scarf and appointed as Bhutan’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations as well as to other international organisations based in Geneva. Simultaneously, Lyonpo Thinley was also accredited as Ambassador of Bhutan to Australia, Denmark,  Finland, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland.

He was also the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Bhutan from 1998 until 2003 and subsequently served as Minister for Home and Cultural Affairs.

On June 2nd, 1999, Lyonpo Thinley was awarded the Druk Thuksey and coronation medals and on December 17th 2008, he was awarded the Druk Wangyal medal for excellence in carrying out his duties.

Dr. Graham’s Homes is truly proud of it’s alumnus who has emerged as the leader of an important Asian state. Lyonpo Thinley continues to be deeply attached to Dr. Graham’s Homes. 

If one were to compile a list of the ten most distinguished former students of Dr Graham’s Homes, the name of Norman Douglas Hutchinson would surely be high up on this list.

Norman Hutchinson was born in Kolkata on October 11th 1932. He was brought to the Homes when still an infant on March 6th  1933 and stayed on in the Homes for fifteen years and nine months.

At the age of 18 and by a stroke of luck, he got his first big break. He was asked to paint a portrait of Lady Edwina Mountbatten. The fascinating experience Norman had painting this portrait can best be summed up in his one comment “She made me feel like a great painter and not like a child just out of school.”

Most of his world-famous works of art are comprised of portraits of his partner of more than fifty years, his beloved wife Gloria. Gloria to him was not only his wife but also his greatest source of inspiration. In his own words, “Fifty years of painting the same woman is a remarkable endurance and a unique record of human image making.” Whatever Norman and Gloria Hutchinson have acquired has been built by dint of hard work, having made a life for themselves from scratch. Norman’s portraits are now famous all over the world. The prized ones are portraits of the Queen Mother, who posed for five sittings, and Queen Elizabeth herself. Several world leaders, including Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru and Prince Philip have had their portraits painted by Norman Hutchinson. 

 He made substantial contributions to the Homes towards restoring buildings and beautifying the ambience. Norman Hutchinson provided funds towards the repair of ‘The Garden of Remembrance’ an important landmark of the Homes. The old cement slabs at the Graham family’s tombstones have been replaced with granite slabs, without sacrificing the aesthetic beauty. It was Norman Hutchinson who funded the restoration of the Jubilee House and the cemetery. He also encouraged other OGB’s to donate money towards the building of the Centenary House as the initial idea came from him. He funded the restoration of the Chapel at Lucia King, which he named after his wife, Gloria.


Dr. Graham’s Homes has been witness to several of its OGBs becoming crusaders of love and compassion. Roy Storey is one amongst them.

Roy was born in Darjeeling in 1922 to an English father, who was a manager of a tea plantation in Assam. His Indian mother worked in the tea gardens. In 1924, two-year old Roy and his elder brother, Kenneth, were abandoned by their father and left with their mother who was too poor to even feed them. Dr. Graham’s Homes became their refuge.

Roy had already faced a lot of hardship and in 1939, life got even tougher for him when he had to leave the Homes to make a life on his own. He was sent to Calcutta to find a job. In his memoirs, he says, “We could not stay at the Homes, as we were getting older and had to face the world. We were sent to the big city, Calcutta…Gone were our school friends…Oh, how I yearned for the Homes. But alas, the day comes when life takes on a different course.”

Roy felt an urge within to do something for others and chose to mentor kindergartners in an inner-city school. These children came from very poor families and Roy taught them to believe in their dreams, helping them to build the courage to pursue them. He loved the children dearly and it showed clearly on their faces each time ‘Grandpa Roy’, as they lovingly called him, visited them. His earnest endeavour has always been to instill in children a sense of self-esteem and confidence. For his voluntary work with the children in Peoria, Roy was honoured by the U.S. President, Mr. George Bush.


On 25th April 2009 at the Ritz Carlton in San Francisco, U.S.A., His Holiness the Dalai Lama honoured a select group of people from all over the world as “Unsung Heroes of Compassion” . Amongst them was Thuten Kesang, Chairperson of the New Zealand Committee of Dr. Graham’s Homes and loyal alumnus of the Homes. The awards were presented by His Holiness the Dalai Lama on behalf of Wisdom in Action, a San Francisco based non-profit organisation, to individuals who, through their loving kindness and service to others, have made their communities and our world a better place. The citation presented to Thuten Kesang read: “What is important to us, and to His Holiness, are the characteristics you share – your kindness, your quiet dedication to others, and your belief in the importance of caring for your fellow sisters and brothers who are under-served.”      

Eager to see him well educated, Thuten’s parents sent him at the age of eleven from his home in Lhasa Tibet, to Dr. Graham’s Homes in Kalimpong in 1955. He was a full fee paying student at the time. Four years later, he learned that his parents had been arrested in the 1959 Chinese occupation of Tibet and that he had become a refugee. With no money to pay for tuition and board and with no family to return to, Thuten’s prospects looked dire. He was fortunate to meet up with Robert Crow, a Scottish member of the Board of Management of Dr. Graham’s Homes, who lived in India and who offered to pay for Thuten’s tuition and boarding fees. Thuten says, “At that precise moment, I decided that I would do my best to repay his kindness by helping others in need when I was in a position to do so.”

Thuten and his wife, Gwen, manage the New Zealand Committee of Dr. Graham’s Homes. In Thuten’s opinion it is important that in addition to providing money for a student’s education, each sponsor corresponds with the child he supports – “I know from personal experience how much it means, to meet the person blessing you with his generosity.”

Thuten’s first opportunity to give back came when he learned that young refugees living at the Tibetan Children’s Village in Dharamsala, India, and attending a school established in 1960 by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, needed financial support. He offered to sponsor a child and soon became Treasurer of the Tibetan Children’s Relief Society of New Zealand. “The first orphan I sponsored went on to receive his Doctorate in Medicine,” says Thuten, adding that he is now a physician in India. Inspired by a passion to help and create an awareness that the need for aid to Tibetan children far surpasses available resources, Thuten founded and became the national Chairman of Friends of Tibet (New Zealand), an organisation that educates New Zealanders about the plight of Tibetans. It also raises funds to educate Tibetan children in India and provides support to ex-political prisoners who have escaped from Tibet to India.

Thuten visits the Homes at Kalimpong regularly. It brings back warm memories of his difficult but happy days at Dr. Graham’s Homes. The Homes continues to live in him.
Dr. David Reid Syiemlieh
Chairman, Union Public Service Commission


David Reid Syiemlieh studied in Dr Graham's Homes, Kalimpong (1958-1970.After passing the Indian School Certificate he joined St Edmund's College, Shillong where he graduated with Honours in History (1974). He then pursued a master's programme in History in the North-Eastern Hill University (1974-1976). In 1977 he went back to teach under-graduates in his alma materbefore then joining the Department of History, NEHU in 1979 .Concurrent with this position, he held at different times the offices of Dean Students' Welfare; Proctor; Director College Development Council; and Head Department of History,NEHU. He was Controller of Examinations NEHU (2008-2010). He also officiated as Registrar (2010) of the University. Prof Syiemlieh was Pro-Vice-Chancellor, North-Eastern Hill University( 2010-2011).

After an M.Phil in 1980 he was awarded the PhD in 1985. As a teacher Prof. David Syiemlieh taught courses on capitalism and imperialism, modern Indian history and the history of Christianity in North East India. He has successfully guided 14 scholars through the M.Phil and 8 scholars for the Ph.D degrees. He has received a number of prestigious academic fellowships including a Senior Fulbright fellowship to Notre Dame University, USA; a Charles Wallace Grant for research in the UK and an Indo- France Cultural Exchange grant for studies in Paris.

Deeply involved in historical research he has published a number of books and papers on the history of the region the most recent being On the Edge of EmpireSAGE INDIA(2014)and Layers of History: Essays on the Khasi-Jaintias, Regency Publications (2015).His contribution to the history of Meghalaya include the finding of the date of death of U Tirot Sing, for which 17 July is a State holiday; and church history details on Thomas Jones, the first Welsh Presbyterian missionary to the Khasis , four of whose grand children were among the first children admitted into the Homes in 1900.His research has enabled him to travel extensively in India and abroad .He has given lectures in different Universities in the US while on the Fulbright Fellowship; the Centre for South Asian Studies, Cambridge University ; Edinburgh University, Swansea University, Indira Gandhi Nation Centre for the Arts, New Delhi, JNU and in the Universities in North East India.

Prof. Syiemlieh delivered the Presidential Address at the North East India History Association 2010-2011, an association he has built up with other long standing members of the association specializing on the history of North East India. Former Honorary Director of the ICSSR-NERC, Shillong, he was also CouncilMember for two terms of the Indian Council of Historical Research, New Delhi.He wasalso Council Member of the Indian Council of Social Science Research, New Delhi. Prof Syiemlieh wasPresidentof the Indian History Congress, Modern India Section, 2012.

The President of India appointed Prof. David Syiemlieh , Vice-Chancellor of Rajiv Gandhi University in September 2011. He assumed charge of the office on 5 October 2011. The President of India appointed Prof. Syiemlieh as Member, Union Public Service Commission,New Delhi. He was administered the oath ofoffice on 25 June 2012.More recently Prof. Syiemlieh was appointed by the President as Chairman, Union Public Service Commission, which office he took charge on 4 January 2017.