NUS University Professor and former NUS President Shih Choon Fong has been awarded the Centennial Medal by Harvard University’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS) for his innovative research and leadership in higher education.
Professor Emma Dench, GSAS interim dean said, “Choon Fong Shih has made essential contributions to the field of fracture mechanics, which have promoted safety and technological innovation in the energy sector, and excelled as a university leader, bringing educational opportunity and inspiration to many.”
During his nine years helming NUS as Vice-Chancellor and President, Prof Shih was instrumental in spearheading the University’s transformation into a research-intensive university respected globally. Prior to this, he concurrently served as NUS Deputy Vice-Chancellor and founding director of the Institute of Materials Research and Engineering at the Agency for Science, Technology and Research.
Prof Shih was a key driver for the establishment of the International Alliance of Research Universities, and led the Association of Pacific Rim Universities (APRU) for four years. He was also the founding chair of the Governing Board of the APRU World Institute, an institute of advanced studies which aims to address scientific, social and economic issues of global importance.
Speaking of the tribute, Prof Shih said, “While I’m deeply honoured by Harvard’s recognition, I should add that it is also a recognition of the talented people that I have had the privilege to work with over the years. Excellence is not an end-goal — it is a continuing, never-ending journey of imagination, discovery, learning and service to the larger community. My hope for NUS too is that it continues to see excellence as an inherently worthwhile journey.”
The Centennial Medal was first awarded in June 1989 during the 100th anniversary of the founding of GSAS. It is presented annually to outstanding alumni who have contributed significantly to knowledge, to their disciplines, to their colleagues and to society in ways that have a fundamental and lasting impact.
Read citation for Prof Shih Choon Fong.