The University welcomed its 10th Chancellor Madam Halimah Yacob, President of the Republic of Singapore, on 14 November with a lunch reception held in her honour.
Mdm Halimah was sworn in as Singapore's eighth President, and the country's first woman President, on 14 September 2017. In 2013, she became the first woman to hold the role of Speaker of Parliament and in 2001, the first Malay woman to be elected into Parliament. Prior to her appointment as Speaker of Parliament, she had served as the Minister of State at the Ministry of Social and Family Development and Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports from 2011 to 2013.
An NUS alumna, Mdm Halimah graduated with a Bachelor of Laws (Honours) in 1978 and a Masters of Laws in 2001. She was also a member of the NUS Board of Trustees from 2006 to 2011.
“Despite humble beginnings, President Halimah Yacob demonstrated resolve and mettle, and went on to achieve many distinctive career peaks, both locally and globally. But her most enduring qualities have been her sense of public service and unwavering dedication to serve and advance the lives of individuals and communities, particularly the disadvantaged,” said NUS President Professor Tan Chorh Chuan during the event.
It was these attributes of individual excellence and public service that led NUS to confer on Mdm Halimah an Honorary Doctor of Laws in 2016, said Prof Tan. He added that the University’s newest Chancellor “will serve as a true beacon and compass for the NUS community” as NUS persists on its journey of excellence, transformation and service.
In her maiden speech as NUS Chancellor, Mdm Halimah noted how the campus grounds have transformed drastically over the years but the heart of it all — the University’s ethos of service — has remained unchanged, a “fitting link” back to the institution’s roots as a university established by the community, for the community.
“It is indeed an honour for me to serve as the Chancellor of my alma mater. What is even more meaningful for me is that the University continues to have a strong tradition of service. This calling to serve resonates deeply with me. I am a firm believer that a life lived meaningfully is the most fulfilling. And I’m still a firm believer that education is the best leveller in our society…I am therefore heartened to see this core value growing and pulsating strongly within the NUS community. As NUS Chancellor, I look forward to working together with you to make our society an even better one for the future,” said Mdm Halimah.
In commemoration of the special occasion, the University launched its official flower, the Papilionanda National University of Singapore. An orchid with a bright apricot hue, the bloom reflects the strength and vitality of NUS and shares its ancestry with Papilionanthe Miss Joaquim, Singapore’s national flower.