NUS Alumni Awards 2023: Celebrating outstanding changemakers and trailblazers

Twenty-one individual alumni and three alumni teams, comprising another 14 individuals, were honoured at the NUS Alumni Awards 2023 on 2 November.

Now in its 10th edition, the biennial NUS Alumni Awards recognise alumni who have distinguished themselves through significant and impactful contributions to their alma mater, society and the world. 

Speaking at the celebratory event, NUS President Professor Tan Eng Chye noted that the award recipients have, “not only found success in their respective fields, but elevated what it means to be an alumnus or alumna of our institution: their achievements have enriched our culture, advanced our science, deepened our humanity, and bettered our society”. Read more about Prof Tan's speech here.

Eminent Alumni Award

The Eminent Alumni Award was conferred on Mdm Halimah Yacob, former President of the Republic of Singapore, for her achievements in public service, as well as her exemplary service to the University as the former Chancellor of NUS from 2017 to 2023.

Mdm Halimah Yacob

Mdm Halimah graduated in 1978 with a Bachelor of Laws from the University of Singapore and obtained her Master of Laws from NUS in 2001. She spent 33 years with the labour movement, rising to become Deputy Secretary-General of the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC). In 1999, she became the first Singaporean elected to the International Labour Organisation (ILO), where she served for 12 years, representing workers globally. She entered politics in 2001, serving as a Member of Parliament until 2017. In a career filled with firsts, she became the first woman appointed Speaker of Parliament in 2013; and the first woman to be elected President of Singapore in 2017, a role she held until 2023. For her service, she was conferred the Order of Temasek (With High Distinction), the nation’s highest civilian honour, this year. 

As Chancellor of the University, Mdm Halimah conferred close to 76,000 undergraduate, master’s, doctorate and honorary degrees over six years, and presided over the Main Commencement ceremonies for graduates and honorary graduates. She also graced various NUS events, including NUSSU Rag & Flag Day 2018, NUS Bizad Charity Run 2020, the Bukit Timah Homecomings of 2018 and 2022, the Institute of Policy Studies’ Women’s Conference in 2021, and the 52nd UM-NUS Inter-University Tunku Chancellor Golf Tournament in 2023. 

Delivering the citation for Mdm Halimah’s conferment, Prof Tan commended Mdm Halimah as an “inspiring leader” and “trailblazing alumna”, noting her “unwavering dedication to advancing the lives of individuals and communities, particularly the underprivileged”. Read more about the citation here.

“I am deeply honoured to receive the Eminent Alumni Award from my alma mater. NUS has played a formative role in my life, shaping not only my academic development but the values I have carried throughout my career,” said Mdm Halimah.

Watch this tribute video on Mdm Halimah’s contributions to the University and Singapore.

Distinguished Alumni Service Award

Eight NUS alumni were conferred the Distinguished Alumni Service Award for their achievements in their chosen fields, as well as their excellent volunteer service to NUS, its predecessor institutions and/or the community.

These award recipients were:

  • Professor Kishore Mahbubani, Distinguished Fellow at NUS Asia Research Institute
  • Mr Kok Heng Leun, founder of the Drama Box theatre group
  • Ms Janet Lim Yuen Kheng, former Assistant High Commissioner (Operations) at the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)
  • Justice Andrew Phang Boon Leong, Senior Judge of the Supreme Court of Singapore
  • Mr Ravi Menon, Managing Director of the Monetary Authority of Singapore
  • Mr Brian Tan Kai Piang, Regional President of Applied Materials Southeast Asia
  • Mr Wong Kan Seng, former Deputy Prime Minister of Singapore
  • Mr Yatiman Bin Yusof, High Commissioner of Singapore to Kenya and Malay language champion

Outstanding Young Alumni Award Recipients

Twelve young NUS alumni were honoured for their achievements and outstanding contributions to their chosen fields.

These award recipients were:

  • Dr Aishwarya Bandla, Regional R&D Manager at Paxman Coolers
  • Ms Akanksha Batura Pai, Head of Strategy and Growth at Sinoda Shipping Agency
  • Dr Rena Dharmawan, Assistant Dean and Assistant Professor at Duke-NUS Medical School
  • Mr Faris Bin Ridzuan, academic tutor at the National University of Singapore
  • Dr Izzuddin Bin Mohd Aris, Assistant Professor at Harvard Medical School and Harvard Pilgrim Healthcare Institute
  • Mr Khoo Yi Feng, social worker and mental health advocate
  • Mr Kwok Ka Ming Andre, founder of Good City Foundation
  • Mr Samson Leo, Chief Legal Officer of Fazz
  • Mr Raghuram Natarajan, Chief Executive Officer of Blueleaf Energy
  • Mr Seah Li Song Shawn, local history author
  • Dr Shravan Verma, Co-founder of Speedoc
  • Ms Frances Tho Siao Ting, Vice President of Sales at Numerix

Team (Alumni) Award Recipients

The Team (Alumni) Award recognises the outstanding achievements of alumni teams who have collectively distinguished themselves in their chosen fields.

Three awards recipients were:

  • Co-founders of Growthbeans: Ms Shamantha Yan Shiya and Ms Shane Yan Shiyan
  • Co-founders of Janio Asia: Mr Ng Jun Kai and Mr Nathaniel Asher Yim
  • REACH (Response, Early Intervention and Assessment in Community mental Health) Team, Institute of Mental Health: Ms Esther Chew Yuki, Dr Daniel Fung Shuen Sheng, Mr Ho Weng Siong, Ms Li Jiaying Grace, Mr Ong Guo Xiong Jeffrey, Ms Ong Tze-I Cheryl, Ms Sim Si Lin, Ms Tan Ke Jia, Mr Tan Zheng Xin, Jason and Ms Kelly Yeo

Read more about the NUS Alumni Awards 2023 recipients here and here.


By NUS Office of Alumni Relations