Notable alumni honoured

The biennial NUS Alumni Awards recognises alumni who have excelled locally and internationally, and for their significant contributions to the University and society

NUS Tembusu College Rector Professor Tommy Koh and NUS University Professor Wang Gungwu were conferred the Eminent Alumni Award at the NUS Alumni Awards 2015 ceremony on 19 November at the Marina Mandarin Singapore. Together with 17 other alumni, they were honoured for having excelled locally and internationally, and for their significant contributions to the University and society.

Held biennially to recognise NUS alumni, the Awards are given out in three categories, namely, the Eminent Alumni Award, Distinguished Alumni Service Award and Outstanding Young Alumni Award.

The Eminent Alumni Awards, the event's highest honours, are accorded 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.

Diplomat of distinction

Prof Koh graduated with First Class Honours in 1961 from the pioneer batch of law students from the University of Malaya, an NUS predecessor institution. Since then, he has proven to be an outstanding lawyer, professor and diplomat who has played a pivotal role in shaping Singapore's foreign policy.

Prof Koh was Dean of the University of Singapore's Faculty of Law from 1971 to 1974. He is currently Chairman of the Governing Board of the Centre for International Law at NUS, and of the International Advisory Panel for the Asia Research Institute.

He said, "When I was Dean of the Law school, I had hoped…that one day NUS Law School would be regarded as one of the best law schools in the world. I'm very pleased that NUS Law School has been ranked in the top 10 universities in the world and one of the best in Asia. It is very encouraging and something I dreamt of but did not imagine it would come true in my lifetime.

The diplomat 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 two decades. He has been Singapore's Ambassador-at-Large since 1990.

Eminent historian

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

The historian received an Honours degree in History and a Master of Arts from the University of Malaya in Singapore 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 became Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Professor of History.

"The key to a successful university…seems to me not its size or its longevity or its beautiful location, though each helps to support a dynamic campus. The ultimate test is the quality of its graduates and the scholarly tradition it generates. In order to do that, each university has to be open to new ideas and engage with all the forces, local, national and global, that can impact its development, said Prof Wang.

He served as Vice Chancellor of the University of Hong Kong from 1986 to 1995, and was Director of the East Asian Institute and Professor at the NUS Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences from 1997 to 2007. In 2007, he received the title of University Professor by NUS, the institution's highest academic achievement.

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Prof Wang (left) and Prof Koh received the NUS Alumni Awards Eminent Alumni Award

Among Prof Wang's most notable achievements are his distinctive interpretation of the Nanyang Chinese history, the Nanhai trade and the relationship between the Ming Dynasty and Southeast Asia.

NUS President Professor Tan Chorh Chuan said, "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.

The other two Award categories and their recipients are:

Distinguished Alumni Service Award Recipients

  • Dr Lee Soo Ann, Senior Fellow, NUS Economics; and Senior Fellow, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at NUS
  • Mr Seah Cheng San, Director, investment holding company 3Fleur Pte Ltd
  • Ms Janet Ang, Vice President, Systems of Engagement and Smarter Cities, IBM Asia Pacific
  • Ms Chen Chun Hua, Adjunct Professor, NUS Management and Organisation; and Co-chairman and CEO, 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

  • Ms Jasmine Ser Xiang Wei, Singapore National Shooter
  • Ms Priscilla Shunmugam, Her World Young Woman Achiever 2015, and Founder and Designer of contemporary womenswear label Ong Shunmugam
  • Mr Min-Liang Tan, Co-founder, CEO and Creative Director of gaming products provider Razer
  • Ms Cherie Tan Shi Hua, Singapore National Bowler
  • Mr Benjamin Tan Keng Sing, Regional General Manager, Qantas Airways
  • Mr Ouyang Xiuzhang, Head of APAC Energy and Metals, and Senior Country Representative for China, Noble Group; and Advisory Council Member for the NUS School of Design and Environment
  • Dr Chiong Yee Keow, Resident (Paediatric Medicine), National University Hospital
  • Mr Royston Tay Zhing Keak, Founding Engineer of Zopim Technologies and General Manager of Chat at software development company ZenDesk
  • Mr Tan Tai Kiat, Assistant Director, Patient Support Services Division, KK Women's and Children's Hospital
  • Dr Intan Azura Binte Mokhtar, Member of Parliament for Ang Mo Kio GRC and Chief Operating Officer of Leeds Group of Companies

 See media coverage and press release.