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
President of NUS
Mr David Ho
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
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
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.
University of Singapore is one such exceptional institution.
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
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
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
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
It is your
investment in the university¡¯s future, and the future of your
children¡¯s education and a most worthwhile cause to support.
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
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.
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.
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
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
The Class of 1972
shows the spirit of ownership that we would like to see in our
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.
Thank you and I
wish everyone an enjoyable evening.