Outstanding alumni honoured

NUS Alumni Awards 2019 recognised 21 outstanding alumni for their contributions to the University, society and the world

Under the imposing shadows of Prince, Apollo and Twinky — the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum at NUS’ three sauropod dinosaur skeletons — 21 outstanding alumni from diverse backgrounds were honoured at the NUS Alumni Awards 2019 on 27 November.

Eminent Alumni Award


The Eminent Alumni Award was conferred on former Chief Justice and NUS Pro-Chancellor Dr Chan Sek Keong (left), and former top civil servant and former NUS Pro-Chancellor Mr Ngiam Tong Dow, whose son Dr Kelvin Ngiam (right) accepted the award on his behalf

The University conferred the Eminent Alumni Award to two NUS alumni who have distinguished themselves nationally for their exceptional and sustained contributions and achievements — former Chief Justice Dr Chan Sek Keong, who is also Pro-Chancellor of NUS; and former top civil servant and former Pro-Chancellor of NUS Mr Ngiam Tong Dow.

Dr Chan graduated in 1961 with a Bachelor of Laws from the then University of Malaya, a predecessor institution of NUS. He was the first Singapore law graduate to be appointed Attorney-General of Singapore and subsequently Chief Justice of Singapore. He is regarded by his peers as one of Singapore’s and Asia’s most brilliant and respected judges. Even after his retirement as Chief Justice in 2012, Dr Chan has remained active in the law as a Distinguished Fellow at NUS Law and regularly speaks with students.

Mr Ngiam was one of Singapore’s first civil servants, beginning his career a few months after Singapore’s first cabinet was sworn in on 5 June 1959. During his 40 years in public service, he served as Permanent Secretary in the Prime Minister’s Office, and the Ministries of Finance, Trade and Industry, National Development, and Communications. He was also one of the founding members of the National Wages Council, the Chairman of the Economic Development Board, Sheng-Li Holdings (now Singapore Technologies), the Development Bank of Singapore, Central Provident Fund Board, and the Housing and Development Board. Mr Ngiam also was directly involved in policies that shaped Singapore.

Distinguished Alumni Service Award

The Distinguished Alumni Service Award went to six recipients who have demonstrated impact in their respective fields as well as rendered excellent and sustained service to NUS, its predecessor institutions and the community. They are:

  • Ms Indranee Rajah, Minister with the Prime Minister’s Office and Second Minister for Finance and Education;
  • Mr Herman Ronald Hochstadt, former senior civil servant;
  • Professor Liew Mun Leong, Chairman, Changi Airport Group and Surbana Jurong Private Limited;
  • Emeritus Professor Lim Chong Yah, economist and academic;
  • Emeritus Professor Edwin Thumboo, poet, scholar and academic leader;
  • Mrs Ann Wee, former head of NUS Social Work.

Outstanding Young Alumni Award

Ten young alumni and a three-member team who have distinguished themselves in their chosen field also received accolades at the awards ceremony this year. They are:

  • Mr Jeremy Ee Jian Wen, NUS Alumni Advisory Board member and NUS Day of Service chairperson;
  • Ms Goh Yiping, Partner, Quest Ventures;
  • Ms Guan Dian, Co-Founder and Vice President, PatSnap;
  • Dr Li Jingmei, breast cancer researcher;
  • Dr Mustafa Izzuddin, Research Fellow, NUS Institute of South Asian Studies;
  • Mr Muhammad Shamir Bin Abdul Rahim, Founder and CEO, VersaFleet;
  • Ms Selly Amalina Muzammil, Regional Government Partnerships Officer, United Nations World Food Programme;
  • Mr Soh Yi Da, NUS Alumni Student Advancement Committee member, and Assistant Vice President of Investor Relations, UOB;
  • Ms Kirsten Tan, film director;
  • Mr Veerappan Swaminathan, Founder, Sustainable Living Lab;
  • Team Award – Mr David Pong, Mr Lim Chong Tee, Mr Vincent Loka, Co-Founders, WateROAM.


Prof Tan addressing the Alumni Award honourees and guests at the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum at NUS

Congratulating the honourees, NUS President Professor Tan Eng Chye said he hopes every alumnus will be inspired by their stories and embrace lifelong learning.

“Opportunities await the ready learners. Having a curious mind and thirst for knowledge keeps us young and relevant — so do embrace lifelong learning, regardless of your age. And with new knowledge, insights and skills, we enrich our perspectives and enhance our capacities to contribute,” he said.

He added, “I therefore urge you to come back to NUS, be it at the NUS School of Continuing and Lifelong Education, the NUS Institute of System Science or one of the faculties or schools, to allow us to partner you in lifelong learning.”

Now in its eighth 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.