NUS President conferred Yale medal

Prof Tan was conferred the Wilbur Lucius Cross Medal for his outstanding achievements

NUS President Professor Tan Eng Chye has been honoured for his outstanding achievements with the prestigious Wilbur Lucius Cross Medal, the highest award that can be bestowed on an alumnus by Yale University and the Yale Graduate School Alumni Association. 

Prof Tan was conferred the Medal at an awards ceremony held at the Yale Center for British Art on 8 October.

The Wilbur Lucius Cross Medal was established in 1966 and is presented each year to honour exceptional alumni in the areas of scholarship, teaching, academic administration and public service. It is named after the distinguished literary critic and Yale alumnus who headed the Graduate School as Dean from 1916 to 1930.  

Prof Tan obtained his Bachelor’s degree in mathematics from NUS in 1985 and his PhD from Yale University in 1989 with research interests in the Representation Theory of Lie Groups and Lie Algebras, and Invariant Theory and Algebraic Combinatorics. A passionate and award-winning educator, he has been invited to speak at numerous conferences overseas, published more than 20 articles in top internationally-refereed journals and conference proceedings, and co-authored three books on mathematics, including a well-known graduate text on non-Abelian harmonic analysis.

Widely regarded as a pioneer architect of the innovative academic system implemented at NUS, Prof Tan seeded many bold initiatives during his tenure as NUS Provost from 2007 to 2018 when he became NUS President, such as the University Scholars Programme, University Town Residential College Programme and grade-free semesters. For his outstanding contributions to education, he was conferred the Public Administration Medal (Gold) at Singapore’s National Day Awards in 2014.

With this latest accolade, he joins a small group of only seven mathematicians to have received the coveted Wilbur Lucius Cross Medal since its inception, with the last medallists Professors James Arthur and Evelyn Boyd Granville taking home the honour in 2000. 

Prof Tan, who shared the lessons he has learnt on running universities in a public talk at Yale University earlier in the day, said that he was appreciative of the strong foundation and values he received from the Yale Graduate School which had been deeply transformative and which he had brought back to Singapore and endeavoured to replicate at NUS. “I am deeply honoured to be conferred the Wilbur Lucius Cross Medal. I am humbled to join the ranks of the over 200 awardees before me, all of whom have excelled and served with distinction in their respective fields relating to academic scholarship, leadership or public service,” he added.

Read citation for Professor Tan Eng Chye.


From left: From left: Dr Anna Barry, Chair of the Yale Graduate School Alumni Association; Prof Lynn Cooley, Dean of the Yale Graduate School of Arts & Sciences; Prof Tan; and Prof Peter Salovey, Yale President