The Chancellor

PRESIDENT TONY TAN KENG YAM has a First Class Honours Degree in Physics from the University of Singapore, a Master of Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a PhD from the University of Adelaide.

President Tony Tan began his career as a physics and mathematics lecturer at the University in 1964 before leaving the university in 1969 to pursue a banking career in OCBC Bank. After a decade in OCBC where he rose to the position of General Manager, President Tan stood in the general elections and was elected into Parliament in 1979 when he was also appointed as Senior Minister of State for Education. In 1980, President Tan joined the Cabinet as the Minister for Education and continued serving as a Cabinet Minister from 1981 to 2005, except for the period 1992 to 1995 when he returned to OCBC Bank as its Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. During his term as Cabinet Minister, he held several portfolios in Trade and Industry, Finance, Health, Education, Defence, including the position of Deputy Prime Minister.

President Tan was the first Vice-Chancellor of the NUS (1980-1981), which was formed from the merger of the University of Singapore and Nanyang University. During his career in the Government, President Tan championed the development of higher education in Singapore as Minister for Education (1980-1981 and 1985-1991), Minister-in-charge for NUS and Nanyang Technological Institute (1981-1983) and Deputy Prime Minister overseeing higher education (1995-2005). Under his leadership, university education in Singapore became more globalised and was made accessible to more Singaporeans regardless of their family or financial background. He has received two awards from the University – the Centennial Torch, a symbol of his inspiring leadership of higher education and research in Singapore, and the NUS Eminent Alumni Award for his contributions to his alma mater.

After retiring from the Cabinet in 2005, President Tan was appointed Deputy Chairman and Executive Director of the Government of Singapore Investment Corporation Private Limited (GIC), Chairman of the National Research Foundation and Deputy Chairman of the Research, Innovation and Enterprise Council, and Chairman of Singapore Press Holdings Limited (SPH). He was sworn in as the seventh President of the Republic of Singapore on 1 September 2011.


Dr Chan Sek Keong

Dr Chan Sek Keong was appointed Pro-Chancellor of the University in 2015. He graduated with a Bachelor of Laws from the University of Malaya in Singapore in 1961. From 1962 to 1986, he worked at several law firms in Malaya and Singapore and was also a partner in Messrs Shook Lin & Bok, Kuala Lumpur.

He was appointed as Singapore’s first Judicial Commissioner in 1986 and was subsequently appointed as a Judge in 1988. He became the first locally-qualified Attorney-General in 1992 and served in that capacity until 2006 when he was appointed as the Chief Justice of Singapore, a position he held until he retired in November 2012. He was appointed as a Senior Judge of the Supreme Court on 5 January 2015 for a period of three years and is eligible to sit as a Judge of the Singapore International Commercial Court.

He was conferred the Darjah Utama Bakti Cemerlang (Distinguished Service Order) in 1999 and the Order of Temasek (2nd Class) in 2008. He is an honorary Doctor of Laws of the National University of Singapore and the Singapore Management University. He was the first local law graduate to be elected Honorary Bencher of Lincoln’s Inn in 2010. He joined the National University of Singapore’s Faculty of Law as its first Distinguished Fellow in October 2014.

Dr Cheong Siew Keong

Dr Cheong Siew Keong was appointed Pro-Chancellor of the University in 2000. He graduated in Civil Engineering in Hong Kong, and then worked and studied Mechanical and Electrical Engineering in Britain. He returned to Singapore in 1953 and served in various engineering institutions. In 1965, he served on the Board of Governors of the Singapore Polytechnic. Dr Cheong was appointed Chairman of the finance committee of the University of Singapore Council in 1975 before becoming its Chairman in 1992.

Dr Cheong is an “engineer with that rare distinction” of being a Fellow of the Institution of Engineers in Singapore and the UK. He was awarded the Public Service Star in 1980 for his service to the University and subsequently, conferred an Honorary Doctor of Letters by the University in 1982. He was a member of the Council of Presidential Advisors from 2 January 1992 to 1 January 2008.

Mr Stephen Lee Ching Yen

Mr Stephen Lee Ching Yen was appointed Pro-Chancellor of the University in 2015.  He graduated from Northwestern University in 1973 with a Master of Business Administration.

Mr Lee is the Chairman of SIA Engineering Company Ltd, NTUC Income Insurance Co-operative Limited, Tripartite Alliance Ltd and Shanghai Commercial Bank Ltd (Hong Kong).  He is the Managing Director of Shanghai Commercial & Savings Bank Ltd (Taipei), GMT Investments Pte Ltd and Director of China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC, Beijing), Singapore Labour Foundation, Kidney Dialysis Foundation and CapitaLand Limited. He is also a Member of the Council of Presidential Advisers.

Mr Lee has served as Chairman of Singapore Airlines Ltd (2006-2017), the immediate past President of the Singapore National Employers Federation (1988-2014), President of International Enterprise Singapore – formerly known as TDB (1995-2002), Chairman of PSA International Pte Ltd (2002-2005) and Chairman of Singapore Business Federation (2002-2008).  He has also served on the Boards of Vertex Venture Holdings Ltd, Neptune Orient Lines Ltd, Fraser & Neave Ltd, BAOSTEEL Group, Shanghai and COFCO Corporation (Beijing).

Mr Lee was awarded the Beijing’s Friendship Awards to Foreign Experts in 2007, the Singapore Public Service Star in 1998, the Singapore Distinguished Service Order in 2006 and the Distinguished Comrade of Labour in 2015. He was also conferred one of Singapore’s highest state awards, Order of Nila Utama (First Class) in 2015.   He was a Nominated Member of Parliament (1994-1997).

Mr Ngiam Tong Dow

Mr Ngiam Tong Dow was appointed Pro-Chancellor of the University in 2000 and Chairman of the NUS Centennial Campaign Advisory Board in 2003. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Economics from the University of Malaya in 1959 and subsequently, a Masters in Public Administration from Harvard University in 1964. He worked briefly as a journalist with The Straits Times before joining the civil service in 1959. During his 40-year career in public service, he has been Permanent Secretary in the Prime Minister’s Office, and the Ministries of Finance, Trade and Industry, National Development and Communications.

Mr Ngiam has served as Chairman of Economic Development Board, Sheng-Li Holdings (now known as Singapore Technologies), Development Bank of Singapore, Central Provident Fund Board, and the Housing and Development Board. He has also served on the Boards of Temasek Holdings, Singapore Airlines, Singapore Press Holdings and United Overseas Bank. Mr Ngiam was conferred the Distinguished Service Order in 1999.

Mr Po’ad bin Shaik Abu Bakar Mattar

Mr Po’ad bin Shaik Abu Bakar Mattar was appointed Pro-Chancellor of the University in 2012. He graduated with a Bachelor of Accountancy from the University of Singapore and holds a Master in Management from the Asian Institute of Management (Makati, Philippines). He is also a Chartered Accountant registered with the Institute of Singapore Chartered Accountants.

Mr Po’ad Mattar was appointed as a Member of the Public Service Commission in 2004. From 1994 to 2010, he has served as a Director of MediaCorp TV Singapore Private Limited (formerly Television Corporation of Singapore), member of the Ngee Ann Polytechnic Council, member of the Public Utilities Board and director of its wholly-owned subsidiary, PUB Consultants Private Limited. He is currently a member of the Council of Presidential Advisers and sits on the Board of Directors of several listed and private companies. He has been awarded the Meritorious Service Medal (PJG), the Public Service Star (BBM), the Public Service Medal (PBM) and MUIS Distinguished Service Award.