To mark the invaluable contributions of NTU President Professor Bertil Andersson and Imperial’s former President & Rector Professor Sir Keith O’Nions to the School’s establishment, LKCMedicine held a special tree planting ceremony on 14 August at its Novena Campus.
Hosted by LKCMedicine Dean Professor James Best, the ceremony was a tribute to two of the most important people behind the School’s establishment. The event saw the two men planting a young sea almond tree or Terminalia Catappa. The tree is a symbol of the close and binding collaboration between NTU and Imperial and the two universities’ commitment to growing and nurturing the young but dynamic School.
Like the School, a tree requires a sound root system and careful nourishment to get it established, said Prof Best. “In time it branches and grows strong, bending with the winds that inevitably buffer it, but remaining upright and bearing fruit and seeds that continue the cycle. In this case it is also a gesture of deep appreciation for all of Professor Andersson’s and Sir Keith’s contributions, hard work and tireless support in the School’s establishment and development.
“I have heard that the early years were the most challenging, as they worked speedily and tirelessly to get buy-in from NTU, Imperial and other stakeholders, to convince them that the School was a project well worth investing in, that the outcomes and consequences will ripple beyond Singapore, beyond London; and indeed the whole world stands to benefit, if we achieve what we seek to do, and that is to redefine medicine and transform healthcare. These are ambitious goals but we can be re-assured by the saying “Great oaks from little acorns grow”.”
During his speech, Prof Best highlighted the significance of the ceremony to LKCMedicine
In his speech, Prof Andersson noted that although some trees in the vicinity had to make way for the construction of the new Clinical Sciences Building, he’s glad that the trees have been given a new lease of life – they will be transformed into artworks and furniture which will be used by the School and admired by many.
On the significance of the ceremony, he said, “This tree-planting ceremony bears our shared hopes that the young tree we plant now will one day grow into a strong mature tree, flourishing alongside our own efforts to nurture and train the next generation of doctors to meet Singapore’s evolving healthcare needs. We want to see top quality doctors, medical leaders and world-class researchers emerge from this School in the near future,” he said.
Prof Andersson and Sir Keith planted a young sea almond tree symbolising the aspirations of the partnership between NTU and Imperial
Sir Keith added that in essence a tree stands for longevity. “Medical schools are the greatest pieces of legacy in academic institutions. They last a hundred to two hundred years. A tree starts small and humble but it flourishes – nothing can be more true of this medical school!
“But I emphasise that the most successful thing about this medical school is the ability of like-minded people to work together constructively. There’s been no precedent for me to see something move so quickly and successfully.”
The tree planting ceremony was Sir Keith’s last official engagement at LKCMedicine as President & Rector of Imperial. He was succeeded by Professor Alice Gast as Imperial President on 1 September 2014.