​Speech by NTU President at NTU Alumni Night 2018

Published on: 13-Oct-2018


Speech by

Professor Subra Suresh

President, Nanyang Technological University

NTU Alumni Night 2018

13 October 2018 (Saturday)

The Wave


Minister for Health, Mr Gan Kim Yong,

NTU Trustees, 

Alumni, colleagues, students,

Distinguished guests,

Ladies and gentlemen,

It is really wonderful to see so many of our alumni returning to campus, their alma mater, for the annual Alumni Homecoming in this beautiful setting today. As we welcome you home, we too, as an NTU community, applaud the achievements of all of our outstanding alumni.

We are honoured to have with us this evening, Health Minister, Mr Gan Kim Yong, to grace this special occasion as our Guest-of-Honour. Thank you Minister for taking time from your very busy schedule to join us here tonight.

We honour our alumni’s outstanding leadership, achievements and contributions to the University and even more importantly to society by presenting them the Nanyang Alumni Awards. Our alumni, who are our strongest advocates and ambassadors, have made an enormous difference to not just within Singapore but around the world.

This year’s recipients have had a major impact in various fields ranging from business and engineering, to humanities and public service. Dato’ Sri Dr Tahir, Mr Lim Chow Kiat and Adjunct Professor Tan Chin Hwee will receive the Distinguished Alumni Award, the highest honour for NTU alumni.

Dato’ Sri Dr Tahir, who studied Commerce at Nanyang University (Nantah), is an entrepreneur. He is the founder of the Mayapada Group – one of Indonesia’s leading conglomerates. A noted philanthropist, Dr Tahir drives his generous contributions through the Tahir Foundation, supporting initiatives in healthcare, education and legal reformation.

Dr Tahir has received numerous accolades over the course of his successful career. Most recently, he was conferred the Bintang Mahaputera Nararya medal by the Indonesian President Joko Widodo.

Mr Lim Chow Kiat, our Nanyang Business School alumnus, is the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of GIC, Singapore's sovereign wealth fund. GIC was established in 1981 to manage Singapore’s foreign reserves and has substantial assets in over 40 countries today.

Always keen to contribute to his alma mater, Mr Lim has since 2015, served on the NTU Board of Trustees. He is also the Chairman of the Board of Governors of NTU’s Wealth Management Institute.

Adjunct Professor Tan Chin Hwee, also our Nanyang Business School alumnus, is the Chief Executive Officer for Asia-Pacific at global commodities giant Trafigura Group. Ever generous in spirit, Adjunct Professor Tan believes in paying it forward by being a mentor. He had more than 40 mentees at one point while at Apollo Global Management, and he also helped set up a mentoring programme at CFA Society in Singapore.

Currently, he is a member of the NTU Board of Trustees and an advisory committee member of NTU’s Centre for Applied Financial Education, which seeks to spearhead the learning of finance from an applied perspective.

Dr Tahir, Mr Lim and Adjunct Professor Tan are among the 37 accomplished alumni whom we are honouring tonight. Their achievements and contributions inspire us all, and they reflect the university’s success in preparing graduates for the challenging and rapidly evolving global economy.

Today, NTU has more than 233,000 alumni in more than 160 countries around the globe. To stay connected with our alumni family, we have established 91 Alumni Associations worldwide. We have also set up 21 Alumni Circles in countries or cities with small numbers of alumni.

With such an extensive global alumni network across Asia, Europe and the US, our NTU alumni are a valuable source of information, advice, contacts, networking and job opportunities, which both NTU students and fellow alumni can leverage. The NTU alumni network is a platform to keep in touch, and to make new friendships, and to keep the NTU spirit strong.

For example, just last month, I was in Beijing with many colleagues from NTU for NTU’s China Convocation and the 6th China Alumni Conference & Reunion Dinner. These events were co-hosted by the NTU Alumni Association in Beijing. It was amazing to witness the camaraderie amongst all our alumni. I am deeply touched by our China-based alumni who have actively volunteered in alumni associations, and their close affiliation and fondness for our University.

As our alumni, you will be proud to know that NTU continues to make its mark in the global stage. The university risen precipitously over the last couple of decades and is now ranked 12th in the world and is placed as the world’s top young university for the past five years.

Recently, NTU joined the exclusive group of universities in the Global University Leaders Forum (GULF), an intellectual community within the World Economic Forum in Davos that provides thought leadership and academic stewardship on higher education, innovation and research to the Forum, and indeed to the thought leaders, and policy makers and heads of states around the world. This is an international recognition of NTU’s rising stature, and an affirmation of Singapore’s global standing in research and education.

To add to these, three of our young faculty members were selected earlier this year in a prestigious group of Top 10 rising stars in the field of Artificial Intelligence by the American professional society of IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers). There is no other university in the world that has three of its young faculty so recognised in that prestigious listing.

As our alumni, you have also contributed to these achievements. As much as you have given us your support in helping NTU shine, we are also as keen to continually engage and provide opportunities for your development.


Learning Technologies Festival

Lifelong learning is a topic of major importance, in the new era of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, or Industry 4.0, where we are seeing how technology is disrupting the way we live, learn, work and play. 21st Century citizens need to keep acquiring and updating new skills, and NTU wants to engage our alumni to do so, for their personal growth, personal development, personal fulfilment as well as professional development.

For this reason, we have launched our very first Learning Technologies Festival especially for our alumni. The Festival aims to inspire our alumni, both young and old, to discover the latest technology trends and innovation, and learn through such new technologies.

Held earlier this afternoon as part of the many activities for our Alumni Homecoming, the Festival featured the various Technology-Enabled Learning approaches and learning technology solutions created by NTU, fostered by NTU and many of our partners and vendors. Organised by our College of Professional and Continuing Education, or PACE College for short, the Festival also featured micro seminars and sharing sessions on a variety of topics. I understand that we had a very warm response to the seminars and sessions from our alumni – the seminars and sessions were fully registered! I hope that you take the opportunity later to view our Festival’s exhibition if you have not already done so. I am also pleased to share that PACE College and the Delta-NTU Corporate Lab have worked together to develop a series of Industry 4.0 courses, covering topics such as data analytics and cybersecurity. These courses will be available on a new mobile learning application platform known as DeltaKnEW Academy.

We are very encouraged by the spirit of lifelong learning among our alumni. NTU hopes to amplify and inculcate lifelong learning not just among our alumni, but also among our students, staff, faculty and the larger Singaporean community.


Latest campus developments

Our alumni, you have made many long lasting friendships and hold many cherished memories of your days on this campus. Today when you make your way into the university and for some of you who went on a tour, I am sure you would have been in awe of the transformation of this campus. NTU is among the most beautiful university campuses in the world. We have iconic buildings such as The Hive, the newly opened The Arc and where we are situated right now, The Wave.

In the next few years, NTU’s flagship infrastructure development will be a new academic building, Asia’s largest wooden building at 40,000 gross square metres when completed by 2021. It will be the new home for the Nanyang Business School and it will also house a number of other activities across campus, from several other colleges and schools. Constructed using an eco-friendly innovative technology, this building will exemplify our distinctive NTU Smart Campus and show that we “walk the talk” of our commitment to sustainability. This will bring more than 95 per cent of the 234 buildings on our campus certified as Green Mark Platinum as NTU emerges one of the most eco-friendly university campuses on the planet, if not the most eco-friendly university campus on the planet.

Even as we build new infrastructure, we will continue to enhance our existing amenities for the benefit of the NTU community and NTU family. Many of our alumni have fond memories of Yunnan Garden. I am pleased to share that the rejuvenation of the Yunnan Garden is on schedule and is expected to reopen by the end of 2019. Celebrating NTU’s rich heritage, the revitalised Yunnan Garden will be a reflective and inviting community space, taking its place alongside other iconic campus landmarks.

In closing, I would like to extend my heartfelt congratulations to all our Nanyang Alumni Awards recipients tonight. I would also like to thank our alumni, for flying the NTU flag high around the world. Your commitment, dedication, and relentless support will help ensure the university’s continued success. I would also like to thank our dedicated staff, faculty and partners who have worked very hard to organise the Alumni Homecoming event today. Once again, allow me to thank Minister Gan for your kind support of NTU.

Thank you and I wish everyone a very pleasant evening.

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