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​​NTU President's speech for Virtual Celebration 2020

Published on: 18-Jul-2020

Speech by

Professor Subra Suresh
President, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore

18 July 2020


Congratulations on your graduation, Class of 2020. I am speaking to you from the President’s Lodge on our beautiful NTU main campus where some vibrancy is beginning to return as we prepare for the start of a new academic year.

We were not supposed to meet like this. But until it is safe to carry out the in-person Convocation ceremony, hopefully early next year, we want to first mark your graduation with a Virtual Celebration today.

As we face one of the most challenging times in the past hundred years, it is important for us to place the current crisis arising from the global pandemic in the context of human history. Many previous generations of students and young citizens have faced monumental challenges from pandemics, wars, geopolitics and natural disasters.  About a century ago, a generation of young people dealt with the first World War and the Spanish flu, which were followed, a generation later, by the second World War.  Locally, Singapore’s pioneer generation were called to address significant challenges as a tiny young country devoid of any natural resources faced an uncertain and potentially unstable future.   Time and time again, youth like you have risen to the challenge, hardened and made stronger by adversity, and have emerged out of crises with renewed determination to make the world a better place.  Armed with an NTU education, you are extremely well positioned to come out of the current crisis to make profoundly significant contributions to society, whatever path you choose to pursue in your professional and personal lives.  

During your time at NTU, you have learnt the value of teamwork and qualities such as trust, integrity and perseverance.

COVID-19 has illuminated the importance of technology as well as research and innovation and the need for the world to come together as one global village to fight this invisible enemy. The world’s universities and research centres, including many research teams at NTU, are racing to find solutions for better diagnostics, more effective ways to contain infectious diseases, and hopefully develop a low-cost vaccine against COVID-19.

On behalf of everyone at NTU, I thank the many faculty, staff and students who, through their hard work, community spirit, dedication, passion and generosity, came together over the past three months to support and protect everyone at NTU as we took unprecedented steps to adjust to new ways of working and living.  Our thanks are also due to the Singapore government, our alumni, and friends of NTU who have stepped up to help our students by offering financial assistance, job opportunities, internships, and educational programmes.  Through the determination of many members of our community, we were able to support hundreds of students who needed immediate help.

Class of 2020, you have successfully made it through one of the toughest journeys ever faced by a graduating class. You have had to go through disruption, travel restrictions, mandatory social distancing and other challenges in the final days of your undergraduate experience.

Thank you for your many contributions and cooperation, particularly in the last semester, as various measures had to be introduced to keep the NTU community safe.

Your perseverance and resilience have carried you to the finishing line. Take that tenacity with you wherever you are, and you will go far.  I am proud of what you have done, and I am inspired by what you will do in the months and years to come. I very much look forward to watching how you will impact the world.

Once again, congratulations Class of 2020.



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