IT HAS BEEN AN EXHILARATING YEAR for NUS. Having embarked on a journey
towards a global university embracing an entrepreneurial dimension, our collective
accomplishments over the year indicate that we are making significant progress.
That NUS’ standing as a university is held in high regard by the global knowledge
community was affirmed by the ranking of the world’s best universities conducted by
The Times of London in 2004. We can take pride that NUS was placed among the top
20 universities worldwide, ahead of many renowned universities, as well as achieved
high ranking in specific disciplines. NUS’ strong global reputation also makes it a firstchoice
university among Singapore’s junior college students, as revealed in a survey by
national newspaper The Straits Times.
Being ranked with the best is great encouragement in our efforts to be a leading
university in the global arena and a confluence of Singaporean and global talents,
both faculty and students. Recognising that faculty are key to our endeavour to build
a global university, NUS’ ability to recruit and retain faculty has been enhanced by
adopting global best practices in promotion and tenure, in particular extending tenure
to age 65. To attract the best students, NUS has also made efforts to develop topnotch
differentiated programmes, provide first-rate global educational opportunities
and foster a student-centred environment.
2005 is also the year when NUS celebrates 100 years of a proud heritage and a
sustained record of accomplishments. Our Centennial Celebrations, a year-long series
of 100 events, got off to a resounding start with the NUS Everest Expedition team’s
successful summit of the world’s highest peak. Our global team, reflecting the diversity
of the NUS community of students, staff and alumni from Singapore and around the
world, unfurled the NUS flag at the summit and put our University on top of the world.
The Everest team’s achievement amply demonstrated that with NUS, no dream is too
high in the quest for excellence.
The Centennial Celebrations were given a touch of distinction with the hosting of
the first-ever joint Presidents Roundtable of the Association of American Universities
(AAU) and APRU as well as of the APRU 9th Annual Presidents Meeting at NUS. The
AAU-APRU Presidents Roundtable was the largest gathering of university presidents
from the Americas and Pacific Rim in Singapore. These milestone events marked a
promising start for AAU and APRU in building a 10,000-mile bridge across the Pacific,
linking member universities through collaborative initiatives and programmes. Clearly,
NUS’ leadership of APRU continues to enable NUS and Singapore to lead and facilitate
major discussions with important stakeholders on the future of higher education,
research and enterprise in the Pacific Rim.
In this Centennial year, NUS stands on the threshold of becoming an autonomous
university. The move towards greater autonomy will give NUS greater flexibility in
charting its own strategic directions in the pursuit of global excellence in research,
education and service. Critical for the success of NUS as an autonomous university
will be a sense of identification and ownership among our stakeholders – students,
alumni, faculty and staff – embracing a “no walls” organisational culture. NUS will
continue striving to build a community characterised by intellectual vibrancy, passion
for knowledge, and service to country and society.
The progress achieved by NUS on many fronts has been made possible through the
hard work and contributions of countless people among our community and beyond.
I would like to commend and thank everyone for all the support and efforts that have
gone into building up NUS’ standing, both locally and globally.
Amidst an increasingly competitive global landscape, our NUS community must
persevere in pursuing our passions to reach new peaks of excellence. Let us move
forward together towards becoming truly distinguished in the global arena while
remaining rooted in Singapore – in short, Singapore’s homegrown global university.
PROFESSOR SHIH CHOON FONG