Issue 92, November 2010
Pioneers give back

The Class of 1985 raises over S$3m for NTU’s needy engineering students through its Pioneer Fund.

The Class of 1985 is motivated to lead the way, no less for a good cause. Perhaps it is their common experience being the first batch to have graduated from the former Nanyang Technological Institute (NTI).

They raised more than S$3m (with government matching) to mark the Class’ 25th anniversary reunion. The amount, which is above its initial target of S$2.5m, is the largest sum raised by a class in conjunction with their class reunion. 

Leading the way
The university’s Class of 1985, comprising Members of Parliament Er Lee Bee Wah (CEE) and Inderjit Singh (EEE), had raised the sum for their Class of ’85 Pioneer Fund established five years ago.

While Mr Inderjit led the fundraising sub-committee, Er Lee chaired the dinner sub-committee to put together their 25th anniversary reunion dinner. 

Relating how the idea of the fund came about, Mr Inderjit said: “A few of us got together five years ago to do something bigger and more significant by organising a 20th anniversary Class of 1985 gathering in 2005.

“As we planned the gathering, we also thought that, as the pioneer batch of NTI, we should give back to the university by creating an endowment fund to help future needy students.”

The S$2.5m target set in 2005 was to coincide with the Class’ 25th anniversary this year, affirmed Mr Inderjit.

At its steady state, this NTU class endowment fund supports up to 23 NTU students each financial year. To date, a total of 27 awards have been disbursed and another 10 awards are slated to be given out by next March.

Setting an example
“I am proud of the NTU Class of 1985 for setting a wonderful example for others to follow,” said Dr Ng Eng Hen, Minister for Education and Second Minister for Defence, on his blog. Dr Ng was Guest-of-Honour at the dinner held to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the NTU Class of 1985.

Applauding the alumni class for their fund-raising efforts, NTU President Dr Su Guaning said: “We hope this (the Class of 1985’s generosity) will inspire more graduate classes to follow suit, sparking off a meaningful tradition that forms the cornerstone of NTU’s culture of giving.”

It’s a celebration!
The Class of 1985 has distinguished themselves. Proud of her peers, Er Lee observed in her welcome address at the dinner that many among her fellow alumni have achieved success amid adversity.

Throughout dinner, the alumni were re-kindling friendship among students and faculty members – some had not seen each other for years and had even flown in from overseas just to be part of the reunion.

There to celebrate the 25th anniversary class reunion with alumni were the founding President, Deans and other professors from NTI. These included President Emeritus Professor Cham Tao Soon; Emeritus Professor and former Dean of the School of Civil & Structural Engineering, Professor Chen Charng Ning; Senior Advisor (Globalisation) and former Dean of the School of Mechanical & Production Engineering, Professor Lim Mong King; and former Dean of the School of Electrical & Electronic Engineering, Professor Brian Lee, and NTU’s Senior Associate Provost, Professor Er Meng Hwa.

The dinner was held on Friday 29 October at Sheraton Towers Singapore.

Golfing for a good cause
Another fund-raising effort, this year's NTU President’s Golf Challenge took on a greater significance.

It was used as a platform to raise funds to support deserving NTU students with cash awards, scholarships and bursaries through the same Class of ’85 Pioneer Fund.

Held on 3 November at Island Course, Singapore Island Country Club, the golf event was graced by Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Minister for Finance and attended by over 180 participants and guests.

All 36 flights were sold, with mostly corporate sponsors coming forward graciously to support the event.

© Alumni Affairs Office