NUS FASS honours alumni for their profound impact on community and nation

The NUS Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS) paid tribute to five outstanding alumni for their service and contributions in various capacities towards Singapore’s nation-building, and the growth of the University and Faculty, at the recent 2022 Distinguished Arts and Social Sciences Alumni Awards (DASSAA) dinner.

The DASSAA was established in 2015 to recognise individuals who have made significant contributions to the nation and community, and dedicated their lives to the betterment and promotion of the arts and social sciences. Each of them played important roles in many areas, whether it was in shaping domestic and international policies, the business landscape, the creative environment, or in improving the lives of those around them.

This year’s honourees are Mrs Elizabeth Sam, a prominent banker; Mr Othman Bin Haron Eusofe, an influential unionist; Dr S Vasoo, a passionate social worker; Mr Benny Lim, a dedicated civil servant and policymaker; and Mr T. Sasitharan, a celebrated actor and respected voice in arts and culture – all of whom have dedicated their careers and lives to service and community in different ways.

Speaking at the awards ceremony, NUS Provost Professor Aaron Thean said, “The Faculty has honoured many alumni who have played important roles in many areas, be it in the shaping of local and international policies, the business landscape, the creative environment, or in improving the lives of NUS FASS students and beyond. The achievements of its graduates are one of the best testimonies to the work done by the Faculty.”

“The five outstanding FASS alumni who will be presented with the Distinguished Arts and Social Sciences Alumni Awards 2022 have excelled in their respective fields in public service, politics, finance, education and the arts. Their contributions to Singapore and their continued passion for what they do serves as an inspiration to many of us, especially to the FASS students who will follow in their footsteps and create their own legacies,” he added.

Inspiring the next generation of FASS students

Mrs Elizabeth Sam is one of Singapore’s best-known female bankers. Her career spanned over 40 years, with the first half of it in the public sector where she played a key role in the growth of Singapore as a global financial centre. In 1996, Mrs Sam was awarded the Public Service Star (BBM), Republic of Singapore, for her contributions to the nation’s development as a global financial centre. The following year, she was recognised as one of the top 50 outstanding women globally in finance by Euromoney.

Currently a member of the Presidential Council for Minority Rights, Mr Othman Bin Haron Eusofe graduated with a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) from the then University of Singapore in 1964. He was a Founder Member of Yayasan Mendaki which was established in October 1982 to introduce programmes to help Malay students to improve in their educational performance. He continues to serve on the Mendaki Council. Mr Othman was also a key member of the NTUC team on the National Wages Council, and served on several Statutory Boards including the Public Utilities Board and the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore.

Dr S Vasoo, Emeritus Professor in the NUS FASS Department of Social Work, has authored several monographs on social issues and has published various such articles both internationally and locally. He recently co-edited a book, “Singapore Ageing: Issues and Challenges Ahead”. He was awarded the Honorary Life Member of the Singapore Association of Social Workers for his outstanding contributions to social work in Singapore.

Mr Benny Lim is Chairman of the National Parks Board and the Chairperson of the Housing & Development Board. He is also Special Advisor to the Centre for Liveable Cities as well as Special Advisor to the National Security Studies Programme at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS) at the Nanyang Technological University. He is also concurrently Chairman of Temasek Foundation CLG and Chairman of Temasek Lifesciences Laboratory IPC. Mr Lim started his career in the public service as a police officer, and went on to develop an illustrious career in the public sector, holding prominent roles in the Ministry of Home Affairs, Ministry of National Development and the Prime Minister’s Office, amongst others.

Mr T. Sasitharan, or more fondly known as Sasi to the arts community in Singapore, is widely acknowledged as one of the foremost thinkers and contributors to the development of the local arts scene. A former Philosophy teacher and arts journalist, Mr Sasitharan is a respected voice in discourses on arts and culture. His essays, commentaries and reviews, on the place of the arts in society, the value of culture, actor training, arts education, theatre criticism, aesthetics and creativity, have been published internationally while his speaking engagements have been at universities, conferences and arts forums around the world.

Congratulating the 2022 DASSAA recipients for their achievements, FASS Dean Professor Lionel Wee said, “Your achievements and your journey inspire the next generation of students who will follow in your footsteps. You have paved the way for them to build on your successes, to take risks, and to innovate in ways that will help make our world a better place. I want to congratulate each of the FASS Distinguished Alumni Award recipients. You have made your mark on the world, and you have done so with integrity, compassion, and a commitment to excellence.”

Read the full citation of the 2022 DASSAA recipients here.