Starting from today until 3 July 2021, the National University of Singapore (NUS) will celebrate the graduation of more than 23,500 students from the Class of 2020 and the Class of 2021 over a total of 60 online ceremonies. This is the first time that the University holds virtual graduation ceremonies.
Madam Halimah Yacob, President of the Republic of Singapore and NUS Chancellor, presided over the Main Ceremony which was held this morning. A total of 154 graduates from the NUS Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health and 32 graduates from the Master of Science in Industry 4.0 programme offered by the NUS School of Continuing and Lifelong Education were conferred their degrees at the ceremony.
The NUS Class of 2020 comprises 11,582 graduates: 6,973 students have been conferred Bachelor’s degrees and 4,609 have been conferred graduate degrees. The NUS Class of 2021 comprises 11,990 graduates: 6,982 will be conferred Bachelor’s degrees and 5,008 will be conferred graduate degrees.
The University had earlier, on 12 January 2021, conferred the Honorary Doctor of Letters (Class of 2020) on Dr Oon Chiew Seng, in recognition of her accomplishments as one of Singapore’s first obstetrics and gynaecology practitioners; and her contributions towards research on women’s health, anti-ageing science and dementia at the NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine. Read more about Dr Oon’s accomplishments here.
NUS Chancellor: Embrace challenges with positivity and tenacity
In her congratulatory message to the graduating class, President Halimah noted that COVID-19 is a reminder that sometimes even the best laid plans can be overturned by events that are not within our control, and she hoped that graduates from the Class of 2020 and Class of 2021 will embrace all challenges with positivity and tenacity.
“It is during such challenging times that we must hold steadfast to our values – respect, integrity, innovation, excellence, and resilience. I encourage you to embody these traits in the path ahead. Strive to give your best in whatever you do. Stay curious, and keep learning. More importantly, show respect and humility to all you meet along the way. These, more than anything, will help you go far in life,” said President Halimah.
NUS President: Be prepared to chart new paths and seize emerging opportunities
Addressing graduates at the virtual ceremony, NUS President Professor Tan Eng Chye noted that despite the University’s best efforts, NUS had to make the difficult decision to hold this year’s Commencement Ceremony virtually, in the interests of public health and safety.
Prof Tan said, “I am especially proud of how our cohort of 2020 and 2021 have shown resolve, adaptability, and an unwavering commitment to excellence during this difficult period. Many of you have had to make major adjustments to your plans and career pathways… I would urge that you nurture a new mindset, and be prepared to chart new paths, and move boldly to seize emerging opportunities.”
The Class of 2020 and Class of 2021 include pioneer graduates from nine programmes and seven programmes respectively. Please refer to the Annex for the list of programmes.
Class of 2021: Shaping the new normal
Reflecting on the uncertainties brought by the pandemic and the impact on this year’s graduating class, Dr Mervyn Lim Jun Rui, who is the valedictorian for the NUS Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health Class of 2021, said, “While COVID-19 has certainly been disruptive, I also believe that it provides the graduating Class of 2021 a unique opportunity to break the moulds of the past and be change agents in influencing the new normal. We need to take charge of our circumstances, be flexible, adapt, capitalise on new technologies, and forge new ways for Singapore to be on the global platform beyond the pandemic.” Dr Lim is currently a neurosurgery resident in a local hospital, and he graduates with a Master of Public Health degree.
Ms Nadiah Binte Zamree, who is graduating with a Bachelor of Science (Project & Facilities Management) with Honours (Distinction), plans to attend the virtual commencement ceremony on 2 July 2021 with her family, in the comfort of their home.
She shared, “I have always been looking forward to my own Commencement ceremony. While it is unfortunate that this year’s ceremonies will be held virtually for safety reasons, my family and I have decided to keep the Commencement spirit alive. We plan to organise a family photo shoot at home, with everyone dressing up, including me in my graduation gown, and to “live stream” the virtual ceremony on our television. Commencement ceremonies are not just about going up on stage but more importantly, they are about sharing the joy with our family and loved ones!”
“COVID-19 has also made many of us realise that we can still give and share despite being apart. To make our Commencement ceremonies more memorable, my friends and I will be exchanging gifts (via delivery) on the day of our Commencement ceremonies to celebrate one another’s achievements,” Nadiah added. She is currently working in a global consultancy firm.