Eight illustrious educators, researchers and professionals were lauded at the NUS University Awards 2015 on 24 April at the University Cultural Centre. The annual event honours and recognises individuals who have excelled in the areas of education and research, and displayed exceptional contributions to Singapore and the global community.
Ambassador Gopinath Pillai, Ambassador-at-Large and Special Envoy to Andhra Pradesh, Singapore Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Chairman, Institute of South Asian Studies (ISAS) at NUS; and Dr Seek Ngee Huat, Chairman, Institute of Real Estate Studies at NUS, and Global Logistic Properties, were awarded the Outstanding Service Award for their unstinting service to the University and the society at large.
Ambassador Pillai has contributed significantly to Singapore through his distinguished service as a diplomat for more than 25 years. Additionally, his past and current involvement in a number of agencies, ranging from NTUC FairPrice Co-operative Limited and Ang Mo Kio-Thye Hua Kwan Hospital to Hindu Advisory Board, has had substantial impact on the social fabric of our nation.
As the founding Chairman of the Institute of South Asian Studies, Ambassador Pillai is instrumental in creating an extensive body of knowledge on India, which is beneficial for the business community, academia, government agencies and society at large. He is also the Chairman of two public listed companies in India'Gateway Distriparks Limited and Snowman Logistics Limited.
Acknowledging the award, Ambassador Pillai said: "I'm pleased to be recognised for my contribution in setting up ISAS. In these 50-odd years since graduation, I've kept in touch with NUS, either involved with the alumni or some other ways.
Dr Seek served as President, Government of Singapore Investment Corporation's Real Estate Private Limited for 15 years, transforming real estate investment into a compelling business model and asset class for sovereign wealth funds. As an eminent thought leader, Dr Seek also played a leading role in enhancing the depth of real estate research in the Asia-Pacific region.
In addition to being Chairman, Global Logistic Properties, Dr Seek is the Chairman of the Institute of Real Estate Studies at the NUS, a position he has held since 2009. He is also an Adjunct Professor of Real Estate in the School of Design and Environment at NUS.
Dr Seek was pleasantly surprised to receive the award, and said that he "expected to continue my involvement with NUS.
Both Ambassador Pillai and Dr Seek are NUS alumni, and have previously been accorded the Distinguished Alumni Service Award by the University.
The achievements of six educators and researchers were also celebrated at the Awards.
Associate Professor Ben Leong Wing Lup and Professor Brian P Farrell from the Department of Computer Science and Department of History respectively were awarded the Outstanding Educator Award. They were singled out for their excellence in engaging and inspiring students throughout their educational journey, and both are well-known for their innovative approaches which include role-play, immersive field trips and online gaming.
Established researchers Professor Neal Chung Tai-Shung and Professor Gan Wee Teck from the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and Department of Mathematics respectively were presented with the Outstanding Researcher Award for achievements which have positioned NUS at the forefront of research. Prof Chung is world-renowned for his work in membrane science and one of his contributions includes the design of the world's most advanced osmosis system. Prof Gan is an international expert in the field of mathematics where he has helped to solve complex mathematical mysteries.
Promising research talents Dr Goki Eda from the Departments of Chemistry and Physics and Dr Zhang Rui from the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering were presented with the Young Researcher Award, for their work in thin-film electronics and wireless communications respectively.
In his speech, NUS President Professor Tan Chorh Chuan touched on the establishment of NUS in 1905 and the challenges surmounted to achieve international standing within 16 years after its launch. He said: "One could say that the instincts of achieving at a very high international level, and of excelling despite the odds, run very deeply in our institutional DNA.
At this year's award ceremony, five new Fellows were inducted into the Teaching Academy. They are: Dr Nga Min En, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine; Associate Professor Lakshminarayanan Samavedham, Faculty of Engineering (FoE) as well as Master, Residential College 4; Dr Seow Teck Keong, Faculty of Science; Associate Professor Teo Chiang Juay, FoE; and Professor Wong Nyuk Hien, School of Design and Environment.