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NUS President to receive honorary degree from Duke University

11 February 2011

IN DAVOS: Prof Tan moderating a session at the 41st Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum in January 2011

NUS is pleased to announce that NUS President Prof Tan Chorh Chuan will be conferred an Honorary Doctor of Science at Duke University’s 159th Commencement in the US. The ceremony will be held on Sunday, 15 May 2011, at Duke’s Wallace Wade Stadium. Duke University had announced that the honorary award is in recognition of Prof Tan’s contributions as an international leader in biomedical sciences, public health and higher education.

Duke President Richard H Brodhead said of Prof Tan, and the six other degree recipients: “I'm delighted that these distinguished individuals will be joining our graduates for their commencement. In the range of their accomplishments, they give an inspiring example of the great lives that men and women can give to the world. They will send our students off with the message: “Now it's your turn to live up to your highest potential.”

Prof Tan has served as NUS President since 2008, and is also deputy chairman of Singapore's Agency for Science, Technology and Research. A renal physician, he is a leader in Singapore's Biomedical Sciences Initiative, and chairs the International Alliance of Research Universities, a consortium of 10 leading research-intensive universities. Prof Tan sits on the World Economic Forum's (WEF) Science Advisory Committee, and is also a member of WEF’s Global University Leaders Forum (GULF).

Prof Tan said: “Duke University is a world leader in higher education, biomedical sciences and global health. It is thus a very special honour to receive this honorary degree from Duke, and a great privilege to be in the company of the distinguished luminaries who have received this prestigious award. It is a recognition of the excellent progress that Singapore has made in biomedical sciences and higher education, which I feel very fortunate to have been able to play a small part in.”

Past Duke honorary degree recipients include 2006 Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus (2010), Nobel geneticists Michael Brown and Joseph Goldstein (2009), media entrepreneur and philanthropist Oprah Winfrey (2009), founder of the American hospice movement Florence Wald (2007), and physics professor and Nobel Prize co-winner Steven Chu (2006).

Prof Tan Chorh Chuan had recently returned from the 41st Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos-Klosters, Switzerland, which took place last month. He had been invited to facilitate two sessions, and was a panellist in the discussion on "The Science We Need". Prof Tan had also participated in the GULF Winter Meeting at Davos. GULF, a WEF initiative, comprises the heads of the world’s 25 leading universities.

To view Prof Tan’s biography, please go to

The list of Duke University’s 2011 honorary degree recipients can be found at