Visionary business leader Professor Choo Chiau Beng as well as educator and scientist Professor Leo Tan Wee Hin lauded for outstanding service
The National University of Singapore (NUS) honoured eight exemplary educators, researchers and professionals at the NUS University Awards 2017. The annual Awards recognise individuals for their excellence in education, research and service to the University, to Singapore and the global community.
NUS President Professor Tan Chorh Chuan said, “We are proud of the outstanding achievements and accomplishments of this year’s NUS University Awards recipients. They have once again reaffirmed our University’s deep engagement in contributing to shaping the future, through high-impact education, research and service. Their achievements reflect not only their individual commitment to excellence, but also their spirit of enterprise, and the determination to advance the frontiers of teaching, knowledge creation and application for the betterment of our nation and the wider global community.”
“These award recipients are an inspiration to all of us in the NUS community. Through their achievements and personal qualities, they have demonstrated that in continuing to embrace a mindset that encompasses imagination, agility, resilience and the determination to seize emerging opportunities, NUS can excel, contribute and thrive,” Prof Tan added.
The awards were presented in four categories, namely: Outstanding Service Award, Outstanding Educator Award, Outstanding Researcher Award and Young Researcher Award.
Outstanding Service Award
Professor Choo Chiau Beng, Provost’s Chair and Professor (Practice) with the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering in NUS Faculty of Engineering as well as the Department of Management and Organisation in NUS Business School; and Professor Leo Tan Wee Hin, Professorial Fellow with Department of Biological Sciences and Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum under the NUS Faculty of Science, were conferred the prestigious Outstanding Service Award. This award recognises individuals who have made exceptional contributions towards the development of the University, Singapore and the international community.
Professor Choo Chiau Beng
Professor Choo Chiau Beng has contributed immensely to Singapore and the community, most notably during his industrious 42-year career with Keppel Corporation as its Chief Executive Officer (CEO), as well as Chairman and CEO at Keppel Offshore & Marine Ltd (Keppel O&M). At the helm of the Keppel Group, he placed the institution at the forefront of the marine and offshore sector. His vision and leadership at Keppel O&M also cemented the company’s position as a world leader in the construction and engineering of jackup rigs and floating rigs for deep water, as well as the conversion of floating production storage and offloading vessels.
An advocate of offshore engineering education and R&D in Singapore, Prof Choo was instrumental in the establishment of the Keppel Professorship in Ocean, Offshore and Marine Technology, which led to the creation of the Centre for Offshore Research and Engineering in NUS. He also spearheaded the formation of the Keppel-NUS Corporate Laboratory, in collaboration with the National Research Foundation, to nurture engineering students for the offshore industry, and offering them hands-on experience with valuable practical exposure.
Committed to improving the lives of the Singapore community, Prof Choo partnered the National Trades Union Congress to initiate a job creation programme as well as the re-employment of older employees at Keppel O&M. Under his leadership as its Chairman in 2015, M1 launched a fund to provide supplementary assistance to school-going children from low-income households and also provided high-speed broadband to low-income households.
Prof Choo continues to contribute his expertise by serving on several boards and committees. At NUS, he is the Chairman of the NUS Centre for Maritime Studies, Board Member of the Institute for Engineering Leadership at the NUS Faculty of Engineering, as well as the Rector of Residential College 4. Prof Choo is also member of the Centre for Liveable Cities Advisory Board, the GIC Investment Board as well as the National Research Foundation Board.
Prof Choo said, “Whatever contributions that I can make is a privilege and I hope NUS can continue to grow in strength and be at the forefront in teaching and nurturing students to be caring and passionate professionals for the public and private sectors. In the various research and postgraduate institutes, I hope that students and researchers can contribute not only to Singapore, but to Asia and the rest of the world.”
Professor Leo Tan Wee Hin
A well-respected educator and scientist, Professor Leo Tan Wee Hin dedicated his service to the nation and the community through various roles. As Director of the National Institute of Education (NIE) from 1994 to 2006, he played an instrumental role in growing NIE into an internationally acclaimed institute of education for teachers. He also revolutionised the Science Centre, when he was its Director and CEO from 1982 to 1991, into a vibrant institution for disseminating knowledge in science and technology to all sectors of the community.
Prof Tan had also served as Chairman of the National Museum Development Committee that saw the inauguration of the National Heritage Board, and chaired National Parks Board, which during his term initiated Gardens by the Bay. At NUS, Prof Tan was instrumental in the establishment of the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum, Singapore’s first and only museum of natural history.
The passionate scientist and strong advocate for the environment is also actively involved in research projects, including a comprehensive marine biodiversity survey of Singapore’s coastal environment. He is presently a Board Member of Mandai Park Holdings, which oversees the development of a new eco-attraction for Singapore. Prof Tan is lauded internationally for his expertise in science and education, and he was invited to serve as Education Consultant by World Bank and Madagascar’s Ministry of National Education and Scientific Research.
In recognition of his outstanding achievements and dedicated service to the nation, Prof Tan was accorded the Meritorious Service Medal in last year’s National Day Awards, one of the highest awards for a public servant.
Prof Tan said, "To be recognised for doing what I consider are my normal responsibilities, is indeed humbling. I really owe it to the many others who journeyed with me and thus share in the NUS Outstanding Service Award. I offer my grateful thanks and appreciation to NUS and the Selection Panel for this high honour."
On his hopes for the University, Prof Tan added, “Universities must evolve to stay relevant to society and I know NUS will persist in adapting and changing to continually meet the aspirations of our lifelong learning nation.”
Six outstanding educators and researchers honoured
The NUS University Awards 2017 also recognised the accomplishments of six outstanding educators and researchers:
Outstanding Educator Award
- Dr Adrian Lee
Department of Chemistry, NUS Faculty of Science
- Dr Christopher McMorran
Department of Japanese Studies, NUS Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Outstanding Researcher Award
- Professor Liu Xiaogang
Department of Chemistry, NUS Faculty of Science
Young Researcher Award
- Associate Professor Praveen Linga
Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, NUS Faculty of Engineering
- Assistant Professor Prateek Saxena
Department of Computer Science, NUS School of Computing
- Assistant Professor Thomas Yeo Boon Thye
Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering, NUS Faculty of Engineering
Please refer to the Annex for a description of their achievements.