Largest cohort of outstanding alumni honoured at NUS Alumni Awards 2021

Held in two ceremonies on 3 and 5 November 2021, the NUS Alumni Awards this year are honouring the achievements of 40 outstanding alumni – 32 individuals and four groups of two – who have distinguished themselves through significant and impactful contributions to Singapore and the larger community. This is the largest cohort of trailblazers honoured in a single year since the awards were introduced in 2005.

Eminent Alumni Award

The University conferred the Eminent Alumni Award on three NUS alumni who have distinguished themselves nationally or globally for their exceptional and sustained contributions and achievements – Ambassador-at-Large Professor Chan Heng Chee, first-generation leader Mr Ong Pang Boon, and former top civil servant Mr Philip Yeo.

Professor Chan Heng Chee, Ambassador-at-Large at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, was the first woman to graduate with First Class Honours in Political Science from the then University of Singapore (US) in 1964. Prof Chan began her diplomatic career in 1989 as Singapore’s first permanent representative to the United Nations. In 1996, she was appointed Singapore’s, and East Asia’s, first female ambassador to the United States. She also represented Singapore in Washington between 1996 and 2012, making her one of the country’s longest serving diplomats. She is currently a member of the NUS Board of Trustees.

Former Minister Mr Ong Pang Boon is one of the pioneer generation of leaders who helped lay the foundations for a stable and successful Singapore. In a political career spanning 29 years, he served as Minister in the Home Affairs, Education, Labour and Environment ministries. For his sterling contributions to the government and the nation, Mr Ong was conferred the Order of Nila Utama (First Class) in 1990.

Mr Philip Yeo is well known for his transformative contributions to Singapore’s military, economic and biomedical fields. After three decades of illustrious service in the Singapore Administrative Service from 1970 to 1999, Mr Yeo chaired a number of public and private sector organisations including the Singapore Economic Development Board, the National Computer Board (now Infocomm Media Development Authority), the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), and the Standards, Productivity and Innovation Board (SPRING Singapore).

Distinguished Alumni Service Award

Twelve alumni were recognised with the Distinguished Alumni Service Award for their impact in their respective fields as well as excellent and sustained service rendered to NUS, its predecessor institutions and the community. They are:

  • Mr Abdullah Bin Tarmugi, Permanent Council Member on the Presidential Council on Minority Rights, former Minister for Community Development, and former NUS Board of Trustees Member;
  • Ms Aw Kah Peng, Chairman, Shell Companies in Singapore;
  • Ms Jocelyn Chng Yee Kwang, Managing Director, Sin Hwa Dee, CEO and Co-Founder, JR Group, and former Member of the NUS Alumni Advisory Board;
  • Mr S Chandra Das, Non-Resident High Commissioner to Sri Lanka, and former Member of Parliament;
  • Mr Barry Desker, Former Non-Resident Ambassador to the Holy See and the Kingdom of Spain;
  • Minister Desmond Lee Ti-Seng, Minister for National Development;
  • Dr Lee Tzu Pheng, Award-winning poet and literary pioneer, and winner of the Cultural Medallion for Literature;
  • Professor Leo Yee Sin, Executive Director, National Centre for Infectious Diseases;
  • Mr Dilhan Pillay Sandrasegara, CEO, Temasek Holdings (Private) Limited and CEO, Temasek International;
  • Mr Jack Sim Juek Wah, Founder, World Toilet Organisation;
  • Dr Tan Lai Yong, Associate Professor, College of Alice & Peter Tan, NUS; and
  • Mr Sonny Yuen Chee Choong, Managing Director, JonDavidson Private Limited.

Outstanding Young Alumni Award

Seventeen young alumni also received awards for their achievements which have distinguished them in their chosen field. They are:

  • Ms Annie An Dongmei, Solutions Architect, Amazon Web Services;
  • Mr Laurence Putra Franslay, Winner of the President’s Volunteerism & Philanthropy Awards 2020;
  • Dr Sharon Heng Ling Zhi, Ophthalmic surgeon at Moorfields Eye Hospital and Chairperson, NUS Alumni London Chapter;
  • Mr Lim Wei Jie, Co-Founder and Director, Foreword Coffee Roasters;
  • Mr David Low Jia Wei, Co-Founder and Chief Data Scientist, Pand.ai;
  • Dr Mohammad Hossein Davood Abadi Farahani, Founder, CEO and CTO, SEPPURE;
  • Mr Muhammad Ibnur Rashad Bin Zainal Abidin, Founder and Chief Innovation Officer, Ground-Up Innovation Labs for Development (GUILD);
  • Mr Ow Tai Zhi, Co-Founder and Chief Investment Officer, AutoWealth Singapore, and Member of the NUS Alumni Advisory Board;
  • Mr Rameez Ansar, Co-Founder, Circles.Life;
  • Ms Carrie Tan Huimin, Member of Parliament and Founder, Daughters of Tomorrow;
  • Ms Audrey Joy Tan Yan Xi, Chief Dreams Architect and Co-Founder, PlayMoolah;
  • Dr Andy Tay Kah Ping, NUS Presidential Young Professor;
  • Mr Aseem Kumar Thakur, Co-Founder, GIVE.asia, and Founder and CEO, Aseemai;
  • Ms Tin Pei Ling, Member of Parliament and CEO, Business China;
  • Mr Wong Kah Chun, Chief Conductor, Nuremberg Symphony Orchestra, Germany;
  • Ms Janice Wong Huixian, Chief Artist, Janice Wong Singapore and Owner of 2am:dessertbar; and
  • Dr Zhou Lihan, Co-Founder and CEO, MiRXES.

Team (Alumni) Award

The accolade was accorded to four two-member alumni teams who have collectively distinguished themselves in their chosen fields:

  • Mr Nicholas Ooi Hsien Loong and Ms Janelle Lee Jiaxin, Co-Founders, bantu;
  • Dr Shi Jiahai and Dr Le Thi Nguyet Minh, Co-Founders, Carmine Therapeutics;
  • Mr Stefen Chow and Ms Lin Huiyi, Co-Founders, Chow and Lin; and
  • Mr Henry Chan Hian Yi and Mr Joel Leong Yong Siang, Co-Founders, ShopBack.

NUS President Professor Tan Eng Chye said, “NUS is delighted to honour 40 outstanding alumni and teams – the biggest cohort of recipients since the inception of the awards is testament to the high calibre of alumni who come from diverse backgrounds – from healthcare, civil service, finance, to the arts. Their life experiences, trailblazing work and achievements inspire us to continue nurturing generations of changemakers who exemplify the NUS values of innovation, resilience, excellence, respect and integrity.

“It is their unending spirit of determination, commitment and dedication to improving the lives of communities locally and beyond, that makes us immensely proud to call them NUS alumni. As we celebrate the remarkable contributions of our alumni, NUS remains committed to creating the best environment for exceptional and inspiring individuals to do the best work and unlock their true potential.”

Now in its ninth edition, the biennial NUS Alumni Awards was established on the occasion of NUS’ Centennial Celebrations in 2005 to honour alumni who have distinguished themselves through significant and impactful contributions to their alma mater, society and the world.

See press release.