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Triumphs in Excellence: Honouring NUSS Member Achievements

On the evening of 16 November 2023, Kent Ridge Guild House buzzed with the joyous gathering of 100 members. Together, they celebrated and honoured fellow members, recognising their outstanding achievements.

Held at Della & Seng Gee Guild Hall, the guests featured NUSS current President, Mr Edward S Tay, as well as several past presidents. These included Mr Lim Soo Hwee, Mr Johnny Tan and Mr Eddie Lee.

In his welcome address, Mr Tay said that the Celebratory Dinner was to confer this year’s NUSS Distinguished Member Awards and NUSS Outstanding Awards on five fellow members as well as to honour the 60 NUSS members who were recognised at this year’s National Day Awards.

He said, “Since 2009, we have organised this dinner annually to celebrate with our members who have received the awards. This year, we are holding this event for the second time. Earlier this year, we held a celebratory dinner for the recipients of the COVID-19 National Awards.”

Distinguished Member Awards

In the citation for Justice Andrew Phang Boon Leong to be named as one of NUSS’ Distinguished Members of 2023, Mr Sonny Yuen highlighted Justice Phang’s brilliance as a jurist, judge, teacher, and mentor. He also said, “We thank you for showing us what it means to live our lives with a purpose and to do it exceptionally well.”

Accepting the award, Justice Phang paid tribute to his late parents and his wife and daughters as well as to NUS.

“I would also like to express my gratitude to NUSS not only for this award but for also being a wonderful institution that has blessed both me and my family in ways too numerous to mention.”

Professor Kishore Mahbubani also received the prestigious Distinguished Member Award 2023. Reading the citation, Mr Soh Yi Da said that Prof Mahbubani had achieved several “firsts” in his careers in diplomacy and academia.

These include being the Founding Dean of the LKY School, the Founding Director of the Civil Service College, and the first Singapore Ambassador to serve on the UN Security Council. “He has also been a prolific author, having published eight books.”

In his acceptance speech, Prof Mahbubani reminisced on his long connection with NUSS.

“In theory, I could only participate in Guild House events after graduation. Yet, Guild House warmly welcomed me even when I was an undergraduate. That began my lifelong relationship with NUSS. Hence, this award from NUSS is truly special for me. It will be a lifelong reminder of my happiest years.”

Outstanding Member Awards

In addition, three NUSS Outstanding Member Awards were also presented.

Award winner Mr Lai Kim Seng, a former NUSS President, said it had been a special privilege to serve the Society and witness its transformation and growth up close since the 1990s.

“I have had the good fortune of working with a group of very talented and resourceful colleagues, past and present, whose invaluable counsel, guidance and support, have made my journey that much more rewarding and pleasurable. We shared a collective sense of purpose and camaraderie, celebrated joys of success and drew lessons from moments of disappointment when things did not turn out quite right. Those shared moments were priceless!”

Mr Joseph Ng was also recognised as an NUSS Outstanding Member 2023 for his invaluable contributions to NUSS and the community at large.

As the Golf Convenor, he had organised successful golf excursions to Turkey, Portugal, and Japan. He had also spearheaded successful fundraising campaigns with notable contributions to the NUS Alumni Bursary Fund, and NUSS’ adopted charities – Dover Park Hospice and Children’s Wishing Well.

“It is my great privilege to serve the society and work with many like-minded and honourable colleagues. Their counsel, encouragement, and support have been pivotal and instrumental in achieving our collective goals and successes. This award is theirs as well!”

Mr Yeo Keng Joon is the third NUSS Outstanding Member 2023 for his philanthropic success in helping needy NUS students. He said, “It has been an honour to work together with the NUSS since the society started its annual donation of $250,000 to NUS in 2013. This annual donation has helped jumpstart the NUS Alumni Students Advancement Committee (ASAC) in our annual fundraising. We have since successfully raised more than $27 million from alumni and friends in the last 10 years.”

 “As a former bursary recipient, I know this financial support can be life-changing and impact future generations. I dedicate this award to my fellow fundraisers in ASAC who are all NUSS members and who share very dearly NUSS’ vision of giving back to the community.”

National Day Awards

Heading the list of NUSS members who received National Day awards was Professor Tan Thiam Soon who received the Meritorious Service Medal and in attendance at the dinner that evening.

An esteemed gathering celebrating remarkable achievements: From left to right—Mrs Anne Mahbubani, Professor Kishore Mahbubani (Distinguished Member Award recipient), Mr Edward S Tay (NUSS President), Justice Andrew Phang Boon Leong (Distinguished Member Award recipient), Mrs Phang Sock Yong, Mr Johnny Tan (NUSS MC member), Mdm Lee Giem Hong and Professor Tan Thiam Soon (Meritorious Service Medal recipient).

“To receive the Meritorious Service Medal is an honour in itself and to be recognised by the NUSS family shows its warmness and openness to all members. I am so grateful for the way NUSS has always welcomed me.”

Guests were also treated to a sumptuous dinner and music from a talented ensemble of a flautist, harpist and violinist. It was a grand evening to honour the grand achievements of the award recipients.

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