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NUS receives gift to boost 35-year-old Tan Siak Kew Scholarship Fund and establishes new scholarship

29 September 2014 | EducationCommunity
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Proceeds from a new book and the gift will contribute to the scholarship and continue the tradition of giving

The National University of Singapore (NUS) has received a second gift from the family of Mr Tan Siak Kew to top up a 35-year-old scholarship fund to over S$1 million and establish a new Tan Siak Kew-NUS Undergraduate (Merit) Scholarship. Proceeds from a newly launched book about early Singapore pioneer Mr Tan Siak Kew, whom the scholarship was named after, will also contribute towards this fund.

Mr Tan Siak Kew was a prominent businessman, a philanthropist and a vocal advocate of education in the 1950s. He was part of the pioneer generation who had served the community through three different political eras in the history of Singapore, from the British colonial days, to Singapore's internal self-government and sovereign statehood. He served as the Chairman of Nanyang University Council, and was remembered for his contribution towards education in the early days.

The Tan Siak Kew Scholarship Fund was set up in 1979 at the then-Nanyang University by Mr Tan Siak Kew's family through a $300,000 gift, in memory of Mr Tan when he passed away. The fund disburses scholarships, bursaries and medals. Nanyang University had later merged with the University of Singapore in 1980 to form NUS, and the scholarship fund has continued to benefit generations of NUS students for the past few decades. To date, the fund has awarded approximately105 scholarships, 76 bursaries and 80 Gold Medals.

New Tan Siak Kew-NUS Undergraduate (Merit) Scholarship

This second gift from the Tan family will fund the creation of a new Tan Siak Kew-NUS Undergraduate (Merit) Scholarship, in addition to the existing Tan Siak Kew Scholarship. The new scholarship, which will be open to students of Law and Economics, covers tuition fees for the full duration of studies, yearly living allowances and a one-time computer allowance. Scholarship recipients are also offered opportunities for overseas exposure, such as student exchange programmes and the NUS Overseas College programme. Starting from Academic Year 2015/2016, one to two outstanding students will be awarded the Tan Siak Kew-NUS Undergraduate (Merit) Scholarship each year.

NUS President Professor Tan Chorh Chuan said, “Throughout the history of NUS, philanthropic support from our alumni, friends and supporters, has continually created new opportunities for our students. We are grateful for the generosity of the Tan family, whose gift has already benefited many of our brightest students over the years. This second gift will go a long way to continue this tradition and enable our talented students to achieve their dreams and make a lasting contribution to the Singapore community. It is indeed our privilege to have the opportunity to honour Mr Tan Siak Kew's legacy once again through a new scholarship.”

The family of Mr Tan Siak Kew said, “We originally set up the scholarship and bursary fund as a tribute to Mr Tan Siak Kew, who believed passionately in education. Over the years, we are truly inspired by the stories of the many students whose lives were transformed positively as a result of the scholarship and bursary. We hope that the new scholarship that will be set up through this second gift will provide even more young people with opportunities to obtain the best education possible and inspire future generations to perpetuate Mr Tan Siak Kew's spirit of giving.”

New Book: Tan Siak Kew: Going against the Grain

The Tan family has also launched a new book titled Tan Siak Kew: Going against the Grain, which charts Mr Tan's life story and his contributions to the development of Singapore. The book includes a foreword penned by former President of the Republic of Singapore Mr S R Nathan, and is published by World Scientific Publishing. Proceeds from the book will be donated to NUS to contribute to the scholarship fund. Please refer to the Annex for more information about Mr Tan Siak Kew's contributions.

Dr Wong Seng Weng, Medical Director and Consultant Medical Oncologist at The Cancer Centre, graduated from NUS in 1996 and is a past recipient of the Tan Siak Kew Scholarship. Dr Wong said, “The scholarship in honour of Mr Tan Siak Kew gave me the opportunity to complete my medical training. The public service spirit of Mr Tan Siak Kew gave me the inspiration to devote time to public health education and serve a greater good; the exceptional bilingualism of Mr Tan Siak Kew gave me the encouragement to pursue this task across different communities.”

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