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Eminent diplomat and renowned China historian to helm Singapore's first residential colleges

13 September 2010

RECTORS OF UTOWN'S FIRST TWO RESIDENTIAL COLLEGES: Ambassador-At-Large at Singapore's Ministry of Foreign Affairs Prof Tommy Koh (left) and Chairman of East Asian Institute Prof Wang Gungwu
NUS announced the appointments of Prof Tommy Koh and Prof Wang Gungwu as Rectors of its University Town's (UTown) first two residential colleges on 9 September 2010.

Serving a three-year term as College Rector, they will provide strategic directions and help define the academic tone of the colleges. They will be working closely with the College Master to build a sense of community and belonging among College residents and Fellows. Among other responsibilities, they will also facilitate programmes and visits by well-known academics and other distinguished visitors for the College. The College Rector is a non-residential, non-executive head of the College.

Said NUS President Prof Tan Chorh Chuan, "UTown represents one of NUS' most important strategic thrusts, to make a large qualitative enhancement to the educational experience which we offer to our students. The residential colleges in UTown are starting on a completely new slate and it is important for each to evolve its own distinctive 'personality', tone and directions."

"We are excited to have Prof Tommy Koh and Prof Wang Gungwu to help us shape Singapore's first two residential colleges. It is our hope that their international experiences will broaden the intellectual mindscape at UTown. I look forward to their leadership and contributions with the Masters to make the residential colleges an exciting and vibrant living and learning environment for our students," said NUS Deputy President (Academic Affairs) and Provost Prof Tan Eng Chye who oversees the development of UTown's academic programmes.

Prof Koh, who is currently Ambassador-At-Large at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, is also Special Advisor of the Institute of Policy Studies and Chairman of the National Heritage Board. He is on secondment from the Faculty of Law, NUS. Prof Koh will be working with College Master Assoc Prof Gregory Clancey, an expert in the history of Japan as well as technology and culture in the Asia-Pacific.

Helming the other residential college is Prof Wang Gungwu, Chairman of the East Asian Institute and NUS University Professor, who is also Emeritus Professor of the Australian National University. This residential college will house the University Scholars Programme (USP), a 10-year-old multidisciplinary programme catering to talented students from six partner faculties. Its College Master is Prof John Richardson, Director of USP and an expert in English Literature.

As an innovative model of multidisciplinary learning and teaching, integrated with the residences, UTown is part of NUS' longer term plans to develop collaborative learning communities that will engage young minds and maximise their potential. Being developed in phases, UTown will see its first intake of students into its two first residential colleges and a graduate residence in August 2011.