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     Previous FrontPage Edition 28 May 2005

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National University of Singapore (NUS) turns 100

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SPEECH BY DR TONY TAN,DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER, AT "THE BASH@BUKIT TIMAH CAMPUS", 28 MAY 2005, 7.30 PM AT THE UPPER QUADRANGLE, BUKIT TIMAH CAMPUS

Prof Shih Choon Fong

President of NUS

 

Mr David Ho

Chairman

The Bash Organising Committee

 

Distinguished Alumni and Friends of NUS

 

 

I would first like to thank the Organising Committee for very kindly inviting my wife and me to join you this evening for ¡°The Bash at Bukit Timah Campus¡±. 

As fellow alumni of NUS, it is indeed a welcome sight to see so many of you attending this homecoming event at this campus which holds precious memories for many of us.

 

NUS¡¯ Strong Heritage and Alumni Ties

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Singapore is a very young nation. 

We are turning forty this year. 

As a young nation, we do not have many institutions which are a hundred years old.

The National University of Singapore is one such exceptional institution.  

Turning one hundred is a great achievement which all of us can be proud of.

 

Over the last 100 years, NUS has grown in size and stature. 

From its inception in 1905 as ¡°The Straits Settlements and Federated Malay States Government Medical School¡± with an inaugural intake of 23 students, NUS has grown to become a comprehensive university today with 13 faculties and an enrolment of more than 22,000 undergraduates and 8,000 graduate students today.

From a university whose primary mission was to teach and train graduate manpower for a rapidly growing economy, the focus has now expanded to include not only teaching but also knowledge creation and research of global standards in Science and Technology, as well as in the Arts and Social Sciences, Law, Business, and Medical Sciences. 

According to the Times Higher Education Supplement, NUS was ranked 18th out of the top 200 universities in the world in 2004.

This is a great achievement which everyone in NUS, Council, Management, Faculty, students and alumni, can be proud of.

 

Harnessing Alumni¡¯s Contribution to NUS

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Moving ahead, NUS faces many new challenges. 

To keep pace with the inescapable dynamics of change in a world driven by a globalised knowledge economy, the way our universities are organised and led must necessarily change if our Universities are not to be left behind.

NUS needs greater flexibility to manoeuvre and to compete internationally. 

The Government has therefore decided to grant our universities, including NUS, greater autonomy to enable them to be more nimble and responsive to the ever-changing globalised world, and to compete for the best faculty and students. 

As an autonomous university by the middle of 2006, NUS can further grow in strength if it continues to harness the support of its stakeholders which include not only the NUS Council, the University Management and Faculty, but also NUS Students and Alumni. 

 

Every year, NUS produces about 6,000 graduates and 2,700 postgraduates. 

To-date, NUS has 148,000 alumni, and for the Class of 72 in particular, there is a total of 1,900 alumni, many of whom are here this evening for ¡°The Bash at Bukit Timah Campus¡±. 

The large pool of alumni comes from diverse background and professions. 

As NUS becomes an autonomous university, it can and should draw on the vast resources and expertise which it has amongst its alumni. 

 

I urge all alumni to contribute back to your alma mater, and engage in the continued growth of NUS. 

This is an excellent opportunity for civic participation, to show that you can play an important role in the success of our national academic institutions. 

As an alumnus, you can help by committing your time and resources, serve in university Committees and engage in other forms of university activities to help NUS to achieve excellence in education and research.

It is your investment in the university¡¯s future, and the future of your children¡¯s education and a most worthwhile cause to support.

In this connection, I congratulate the Class of 72 for raising over $400,000, which, together with the matching grant, will be sufficient to set up an endowment fund to grant some 35 bursaries to help NUS students who are in need of financial assistance.

 

Allocation of BTC to NUS

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This evening, I am also pleased to announce that the Government has decided to allocate the Bukit Timah campus to NUS to house its Law and Business schools which will be relocating from Kent Ridge. 

The Government¡¯s decision was based on how the site would be used, the considerations put forward by the University and how the public interest would be best served.

NUS has strong heritage links with the Bukit Timah campus, which began way back in 1928 during the days of Raffles College. 

Bukit Timah Campus holds a strong sentimental value for NUS and its alumni. 

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The allocation of Bukit Timah Campus to NUS is timely and meaningful as the university celebrates its Centennial year in 2005. 

NUS should seize this opportunity to further strengthen its bonds with its alumni. 

Likewise, I urge the alumni to come forward to take greater ownership of your University by your commitment and contribution to NUS in the years ahead. 

 

Conclusion

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Finally, I wish to thank Mr David Ho and his stalwart members of The Bash Organising Committee for taking the initiative to organize this evening¡¯s function.

The Class of 1972 shows the spirit of ownership that we would like to see in our universities¡¯ alumni. 

You are exemplary alumni ¨C in how strongly you feel for your alma mater, the life-long friendships forged during your university days, and your sense of identification with the University.

I hope the Class of 1972 spirit will inspire other classes to follow your lead.

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Thank you and I wish everyone an enjoyable evening.

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Source: Singapore Government Media Release 28 May 2005

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