Professor Tan Eng Chye kicked off his first week as NUS President by outlining the University’s ambitions and charting its path ahead in a speech delivered on 5 January.
Sharing his belief that students “should be students for life”, Prof Tan spoke on the importance of lifelong learning, as well as the need for constant innovation to ensure the best educational experience for NUS students.
Prof Tan announced that over the next five years the University will progressively open up its programmes to those with and without degrees regardless of their alma mater, and gradually integrate adult learners into the University’s classes. Eventually, up to 20 per cent of each class could comprise of adult learners.
Prof Tan envisioned the University helping its students grow as individuals. “In your career, we will be your anchor for lifelong learning so that you can make sense of the future economy, and your future jobs. We aim to empower you so that you can give back to the community, to help others succeed,” said Prof Tan.
Prof Tan also outlined plans to develop the University’s talent pool by hiring 200 new researchers, who will, alongside current faculty, collectively shape new peaks of excellence at NUS. The University will also ramp up its research translation and enterprise activities, and expand its entrepreneurial network across the globe including new nodes in Southeast Asian cities.
He shared these at a lunch reception held to thank Professor Tan Chorh Chuan for his nine-year tenure as NUS’ fourth President, and to welcome Prof Tan Eng Chye as the University’s new President.
Special guests at the event included NUS Chancellor and State President Madam Halimah Yacob, Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for Economic and Social Policies Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong, Minister for Finance Heng Swee Keat, and Minister for Education (Higher Education and Skills) Ong Ye Kung. Also present were Pro-Chancellors Mr Po’ad Mattar and Mr Chan Sek Keong, Chairman Mr Hsieh Fu Hua, Trustees, distinguished guests, alumni, staff and student leaders.
Reflecting on his stint and the leadership transition, Prof Tan Chorh Chuan highlighted the need for agility against a backdrop of fast-moving realities, saying, “I am glad that with President Tan Eng Chye, Senior Deputy President and Provost Ho Teck Hua and the renewed leadership team, NUS has leaders in place who have the deep global connections and proven skills to do this well.”
In his speech, NUS Chairman Mr Hsieh Fu Hua lauded Prof Tan Eng Chye as the Board’s unanimous choice as NUS President. “As evident when you were Dean of Science and later as Provost, you have been a dedicated, grounded and modest leader ever ready to harness the talents within and beyond the university,” said Mr Hsieh.
Mr Hsieh also thanked Prof Tan Chorh Chuan for his service as an outstanding University President, noting that Prof Tan’s “heart of the explorer” has seen him “constantly expanding frontiers for NUS and for the nation”.
Minister Ong highlighted some of Prof Tan Chorh Chuan’s accomplishments, such as overseeing the establishment of Yale-NUS College and initiatives like the University Town. Recalling his experiences working with Prof Tan in the past two years, Minister Ong said, “He speaks softly but thinks deeply, and he always goes for the higher goals in life.”
In recognition of Prof Tan Chorh Chuan’s contribution to the University, he was conferred the title of University Professor, NUS’ highest academic appointment. Delivering the citation, Prof Tan Eng Chye described his colleague and predecessor as “a man of many talents, our very own ‘Renaissance Man’”.
“He serves as an inspiring model to our students and alumni, and a shining example of what it means to serve the University and country,” said Prof Tan Eng Chye.
Prof Tan Chorh Chuan has also been appointed Senior Advisor to NUS, concurrent to his new roles at the Ministry of Health as Singapore’s first Chief Health Scientist and founding Executive Director of the Office for Healthcare Transformation.
The University Professorship is bestowed on senior faculty members who have demonstrated deep and ongoing commitment to NUS, and have served NUS with distinction in at least one of the three areas of education, research and service.
Read speech by NUS Chairman Mr Hsieh Fu Hua.
Read speech by NUS President Prof Tan Eng Chye.
Read speech by Prof Tan Chorh Chuan.
Read speech by Minister for Education (Higher Education and Skills) Ong Ye Kung.
Read citation for Prof Tan Chorh Chuan.