NUS will be setting up the George Bogaars Professorship in History with a $2.6 million gift from various donors, including friends and colleagues of the late Mr George E Bogaars.
The Professorship, to be established by NUS History, aims to strengthen the Department’s expertise in modern Asian history, especially in subjects relating to the history of government, politics and the state. The Department will be able to appoint a leading historian known for excellence and international renown in teaching and research in a relevant area of modern Asian history such as the relationships between the state and society, the development of public administration, international relations, maritime trade and political economy.
Mr Bogaars had been an esteemed alumnus and outstanding leader, said NUS President Professor Tan Chorh Chuan. “We are deeply appreciative of this latest gift, which will play a key role in helping the Department of History grow its global reputation and influence future thinking,” he added.
The late Mr Bogaars was a leading civil servant acknowledged for his crucial role in building the administrative service of an independent Singapore. He joined the then-Malayan civil service in 1952 after graduating from the University of Malaya, a predecessor institution of NUS, with a Master of Arts degrees conferred by the History Department.
When Singapore achieved internal self-government in 1959, Mr Bogaars was tasked with reorganising the Special Branch. He went on to serve in various key appointments, including Head of Civil Service from 1968 to 1975. He was also Chairman of Keppel Shipyard Limited, forerunner of Keppel Corporation, from 1970 to 1984.
More than 35 donors have contributed to the fundraising efforts spearheaded by Mr Lim Soo Peng, former Member of Parliament for Havelock; Mr Ang Kong Hua, Chairman of Sembcorp Industries Limited; and Ms Pang Cheng Lian, who worked for Mr Bogaars at the former Ministry of the Interior and Defence. Strong support came from Keppel Corporation, NSL, Singaporean business magnate Mr Ong Beng Seng, Temasek and the Treasury Coffee Club which reached out to former friends and colleagues of Mr Bogaars.
An old friend of Mr Bogaars, Mr Lim Soo Peng, shared, “Mr Bogaars was a dear friend and an inspiration to us all. He laid the foundations of a civil service that has been integral in charting the achievements of the last 50 years.”
Mr Michael Bogaars, a member of the Bogaars family, was gratified that his late father was admired and appreciated by so many. “It is our hope that this new Professorship will inspire future generations of change makers who will go on to leave a lasting impression on society as my father did,” he said.