Commencement Dinner 2022: A night to remember

Celebration and reflection, joy and gratitude – these were the sentiments at Commencement Dinner 2022, which marked a memorable close to this year’s Commencement.

Taking place at the Kent Ridge Guild House, the dinner honoured the newly minted graduates and was graced by some 160 guests, from the graduates – including Honorary Graduate Professor Wang Gungwu – and faculty to members of the NUS Board, and NUS Pro-Chancellors Mr Po’ad Mattar, Mrs Theresa Foo, and Prof S. Jayakumar.

Sharing about their lives post-graduation and heartily congratulating their fellow graduates, Masters of Ceremonies Ms Sneha Sunil Pillai and Mr Chua Huaren, graduating Student Ambassadors from the College of Humanities and SciencesNUS Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences and NUS Faculty of Science respectively—set the tone for an exuberant evening marked by inspiring speeches and moving performances.

Looking back, moving forward

Offering a rousing toast to the graduating Class of 2022, NUS President Professor Tan Eng Chye lauded the graduates’ “exceptional resolve, innovative spirit, and uplifting ambitions to make the world a better place”.

He further paid tribute to outstanding graduates like Mr Nur Hazeem Abdul Nasser, Yale-NUS graduate and Singapore Rhodes Scholarship recipient who founded the SignPost Project to highlight the challenges faced by vulnerable members of our community who struggle to make a living as tissue paper sellers and cardboard collectors.

Prof Tan also imparted three essential life lessons on change and transformation to the new graduates, gleaned from the experience of COVID-19—to be adaptable, open-minded, and innovative in the face of changing circumstances; to maintain a focus on long-term priorities, even while remaining flexible in working out pathways and solutions; and finally, to strive towards a common purpose and make a difference both individually and collectively.

“[The] new generation of NUS graduates is imbued with the distinctive NUS spirit of excellence and service to community, and well ready to lead the way in building a common future that offers greater hope, security and prosperity,” said Prof Tan.

“I wish all graduates a fulfilling journey ahead, and that they will find many opportunities not only for self-development, but also for giving back to community,” he added. 

Food for the soul

The night was also enlivened by student performances that enthralled and inspired.

These include energetic, upbeat renditions of “Perfume Medley” and “Counting Stars” from NUS Resonance, the pioneer and premier collegiate a capella group in Singapore which has clinched multiple awards in local and international competitions.

The NUS Jazz Band, the only tertiary jazz CCA that houses its own big band, vocal ensemble, and combo bands, serenaded the audience with a soulful repertoire of timeless classics, “On the Sunny Side of the Street”, “Love is Here to Stay”, and “Dat Dere”.

A sophisticated dance number by NUS Dance Synergy, titled “Play Pretend”, celebrated the perpetual renewal of the self and sought to represent the path of self-discovery – through the journey of pursuing knowledge and the experience of graduation.

Reflections on the graduates’ journeys also found expression in the speech delivered by Ms Lim Huiyi of the College of Design and Engineering, Representative of the Class of 2022 and NUS Students’ Union Deputy Communications Secretary.

Encapsulating the spirit of the graduating class, she said, “It was our resilience in adapting to the new normal that allowed us to overcome the challenges presented by the pandemic in our own way, crafting our identity as the Class of 2022.” 

 “By pursing our passions and having the strength to give our best every day despite the multitude of stumbling blocks in our path, we can be proud of how far we have come.”

This story is the final instalment of NUS News’ coverage of Commencement 2022, which celebrates the achievements of our 13,975 graduates through 28 in-person ceremonies. For more on Commencement, read our story on the opening ceremony, check out the official Commencement website, or look up (and tag) #NUS2022 on our social media channels!