Other Campus Life Stories:
By Jack Ren Cong
Fourth year student, University Scholars Programme
USP STUDENTS: At the programme's 10th anniversary dinner celebrations
ADMIRING THE USP PHOTO COLLAGE: Dr and Mrs Lee Shiu, both long-time USP partners and sponsors of the Lee Shiu Summer Programme at USP
DISTINGUISHED GUESTS: (From left) Present USP Director Prof John Richardson, Founding Dean Prof George Landow, Former USP Director Prof Peter Pang It was a star-studded night of jubilant festivity for the University Scholars Programme (USP) on 11 September 2010, as present and former staff and students celebrated its 10th anniversary in the magnificent ballroom of Grand Hyatt Hotel together with faculty staff and external partners. It was truly an honour for me to be a part of this celebratory crowd of about 250 people, and be one of the two student representatives to speak on this occasion.
Arriving early that evening, I felt rather overwhelmed initially by the number of international scholars, industry partners, and junior college teachers and principals who were already present and crowding the doorway. But I soon became less daunted during the cocktail reception when I found them all surprisingly approachable and affable.
Director of the USP Prof John Richardson gave a warm welcome address. He began by thanking all who had helped shaped the USP and went on to highlight the appointment of Prof Wang Gungwu as Rector of the upcoming USP residential college in the NUS University Town (UTown). Prof Wang made a short speech in the most eloquent and modest manner, and presented the USP Long Service Awards and Teaching Excellence Awards to recipients.
Students from the Programme like me cheered extra loudly for our teachers and support staff for their indefatigable dedication to this closely-knit and multidisciplinary learning community during the presentation of the awards. The formality of the occasion eased up with a sharing session on student-centric programmes by Prof Peter Pang, previous director of the USP (2003 – 2009) who discussed the USP and the world; and by Edmund Twohill, a USP alumnus and I, as former participants of the Lee Shiu Centre for Intercultural Learning Summer Programme, one of USP’s global programmes. Thereafter, we sang a joyful birthday song for Mrs Jennie Lee, wife of Dr Lee Shiu, both long-time USP partners and sponsors of the Lee Shiu Summer Programme at USP since 2003.
During the entire evening, the range of talent showcased through student performances left me in awe as I discovered the unknown flair of my peers and other students at NUS. Among the treats we enjoyed were a sensational classical ballet dance, delightful a cappella music and splendid jazz. The display of talent made me wonder what the future will hold for later generations of this multi-talented USP community. Believing this to be the result of the establishment of an all-rounded and multidisciplinary education incepted at USP ten years ago, I really look forward to returning as an alumnus one day to partake and witness the programme’s blossoming and continued success at UTown.
Towards the end of the programme, founding dean of the USP Prof George Landow spoke on the early vision of the Programme – to groom inter-disciplinary leaders across cultures – and its association with Harvard University. In his closing remarks, Prof Richardson said that we should look forward to the next amazing decade of the University Scholars Programme in NUS. I, for one, am keenly anticipating USP’s development and progress in its next phase of growth.
16 September 2010