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NUS honours 19 alumni for outstanding contributions to alma mater and society

19 November 2015 | Education
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Professor Tommy Koh and Professor Wang Gungwu conferred the highest honours

The National University of Singapore (NUS) honoured the achievements of 19 outstanding alumni at the prestigious NUS Alumni Awards 2015. Held biennially, the Awards recognise alumni who have excelled locally and internationally, and have made significant contributions to the University and society. The Awards were presented in three categories, namely the Eminent Alumni Award, Distinguished Alumni Service Award and Outstanding Young Alumni Award.

NUS President Professor Tan Chorh Chuan said, "This year, we are heartened to celebrate the achievements of our alumni alongside Singapore 's Golden Jubilee and the 110th year of the founding of NUS. The award recipients are outstanding individuals who have demonstrated visionary leadership in their respective fields, and contributed with passion and dedication to the University and society. NUS is proud to have these individuals among our distinguished alumni. Collectively, they inspire us to continue to strive for excellence and contribute our best to the community. On behalf of the University, I extend our heartiest congratulations to all our award recipients."

This year, NUS conferred the highest honours, the Eminent Alumni Award, on two exceptional alumni – Professor Tommy Koh and Professor Wang Gungwu. The Eminent Alumni Award is presented to alumni who have distinguished themselves nationally or internationally for their excellent and sustained contributions and achievements in public and community service; in arts, sports, culture or entrepreneurship; or in a profession or scholarly field.

Eminent Alumni Award Recipient – Professor Tommy Koh

Professor Tommy Koh is an outstanding lawyer, professor and diplomat who played a pivotal role in shaping Singapore 's foreign policy. Prof Koh was from the pioneer class of law students at the University of Malaya in Singapore, the predecessor institution of NUS, and he graduated with First Class Honours in 1961. He began his career in the academia as an Assistant Lecturer with the University of Singapore 's Faculty of Law in 1962, and subsequently served as the Dean of the Faculty of Law from 1971 to 1974. In 1984, Prof Koh was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Laws by Yale University. To date, Prof Koh has served at NUS for 53 years and currently holds various appointments at the University, including Chairman of the Governing Board of the Centre for International Law at NUS, Rector of Tembusu College, Chairman of the International Advisory Panel for the Asia Research Institute, and Chairman of the Advisory Committee for the Master of Science in Environmental Management programme.

As a diplomat, Prof Koh has served as Singapore 's Permanent Representative to the United Nations and headed Singapore 's overseas missions in the United States, Canada and Mexico, over a span of two decades. He was also Singapore 's Chief Negotiator for the historic US-Singapore Free Trade Agreement, and was conferred the Order of Nila Utama (First Class) by the Singapore Government for his contributions as a member of the team representing Singapore in the Pedra Branca dispute with the Malaysian government. In 2014, Prof Koh was accorded the 2014 Great Negotiator Award for his distinguished career contributions to the fields of negotiation and dispute resolution by the Program on Negotiation, an inter-university consortium of Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Tufts University; and the Future Diplomacy Project at Harvard Kennedy School.

Today, Prof Koh remains Singapore 's Ambassador-at-Large at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, a position he has held since 1990.

Eminent Alumni Award recipient – Professor Wang Gungwu

Professor Wang Gungwu, Chairman of the Governing Board of the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at NUS, and Chairman of the East Asian Institute at NUS, is an internationally-renowned historian and leading authority on Chinese history.

Prof Wang graduated from the University of Malaya in Singapore with an Honours degree in History and a Master of Arts in 1953 and 1955 respectively. He served as a lecturer at the University of Malaya in Singapore from 1957 to 1959 and then at the same university in Malaysia from 1959 to 1968, where he rose to become Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Professor of History. Among the many appointments in his illustrious academic career, Prof Wang served as Vice Chancellor of the University of Hong Kong from 1986 to 1995, and as Director of the East Asian Institute and Professor at the NUS Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences from 1997 to 2007. In 2007, he became the third individual to receive the title of University Professor by NUS, the institution 's highest academic achievement.

One of Prof Wang 's most notable achievements was his distinctive interpretation of the Nanyang Chinese history, the Nanhai trade and the relationship between the Ming Dynasty and Southeast Asia. Throughout his academic career, he has written numerous books and articles, many of which have been translated into various languages. His views are much sought after and he is often invited to deliver lectures in many prestigious universities worldwide, including Harvard University, Princeton University and the University of Cambridge.

His scholarly contributions have also earned him several Honorary Doctorates from various universities, including the Honorary Doctor of Laws from the Australian National University in 1996 and the Honorary Doctor of Letters from the University of Cambridge in 2009.

Distinguished Alumni Service Award Recipients

Seven NUS alumni were conferred the Distinguished Alumni Service Awards for rendering excellent and sustained services to NUS, its predecessor institutions or the alumni community:

Dr Lee Soo Ann, Senior Fellow, Department of Economics, NUS Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences; and Senior Fellow, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at NUS
Mr Seah Cheng San, Director, 3Fleur Pte Ltd
Ms Janet Ang, Vice President, Systems of Engagement and Smarter Cities, IBM Asia Pacific
Ms Chen Chun Hua, Adjunct Professor, Department of Management and Organisation, NUS Business School; and Co-Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, New Hope Liuhe Co.
Dr Tan Eng Liang, Vice-President, Singapore National Olympic Council
Mrs Joanna Wong, Co-founder and Artistic Director, Chinese Theatre Circle
Mr Edward D 'Silva, Senior Advisor, SAA Architects; and Chairman, Seniors Committee, Central Community Development Council

Outstanding Young Alumni Award Recipients

NUS also honoured 10 young alumni for their leadership and outstanding contributions to their chosen fields.

This year 's recipients of the Outstanding Young Alumni Award include Singapore National Shooter Ms Jasmine Ser Xiang Wei; Ms Priscilla Shunmugam, Her World Young Woman Achiever 2015 and Founder and Designer of Ong Shunmugam; Mr Min-Liang Tan, Co-founder, Chief Executive Officer and Creative Director of Razer; Mr Royston Tay, Founding Engineer of Zopim Technologies and General Manager of Chat at ZenDesk; and Dr Intan Azura Binte Mokhtar, Member of Parliament for Ang Mo Kio GRC and Chief Operating Officer of Leeds Group of Companies.

Please refer to the Annex for the full list of NUS Alumni Awards 2015 recipients.

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