The Class of 2019 and their mentors, family members and friends who supported them through their NUS education were celebrated at the annual Commencement Dinner on 19 July. Marking the official end of NUS Commencement 2019, the event was attended by more than 300 guests, including NUS Pro-Chancellors Mr Po’ad Mattar, Mr Chan Sek Keong and Mr Gautam Banerjee; NUS Chairman Mr Hsieh Fu Hua; as well as NUS Board of Trustee members.
Lively performances by NUS Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music alumna pianist Ms Churen Li and the NUS Jazz Band filled the hall as the guests ate, mingled and reminisced on their NUS experience.
In his speech, NUS President Professor Tan Eng Chye lauded the graduates’ spirit of lifelong learning and mentorship.
“Learning is a blend of individual effort, as well as strong social support. As our newest graduates entering the workforce, I hope you will take full advantage of expanded lifelong learning opportunities to continually upgrade and upskill, as well as contribute to the growth and development of others by sharing your knowledge and experiences. In this way, we will build a positive cycle of enablement, which will allow more members of society to fulfil their aspirations, and realise their potential,” he elaborated.
Prof Tan also emphasised that the relationship between the University and the graduates does not come to an end at Commencement. “You will always be welcomed in NUS. The relationship between an alma mater and her alumni is transitioning rapidly, from ‘once upon a time’, to lifetime learning partners, and we hope to have an opportunity to renew and strengthen our bonds in the near future,” he said.
Outgoing NUS Students’ Union Welfare Secretary, Class of 2019 representative and NUS Economics graduate Chua Khai Shing reflected on her transformative experience at the University, particularly how overcoming fear and hatred fuelled her growth. “Life is about facing things you hate. I hated when people spoke about finance and mathematical stuff, so I had to challenge that head-on with my Economics major. I hated running, so I challenged myself to finish a half marathon and a full marathon. I hated and continue to hate many things about myself and about the world around me, and will continue to challenge and change them,” she shared.
At the end of the evening, each guest was gifted with a sapling of one of three species of plants that can be found on the NUS campus — a symbol of new beginnings while maintaining ties with NUS.