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Dr Lee Seng Tee receives NUS Honorary Degree of Doctor of Letters

02 Oct 2009



DOCTOR OF LETTERS: (From left) Chairman of the NUS Board of Trustees Mr Wong Ngit Liong; NUS Pro-Chancellor Dr Andrew Chew; Minister for Education and Second Minister for Defence Dr Ng Eng Hen; Dr Lee Seng Tee; Singapore President and NUS Chancellor His Excellency S R Nathan; Mrs S R Nathan; Mrs Lee Seng Tee; NUS Pro-Chancellor Mr Ngiam Tong Dow; NUS Pro-Chancellor Dr Cheong Siew Keong and NUS President Prof Tan Chorh Chuan
In recognition for his contributions in promoting education, Dr Lee Seng Tee was conferred the NUS Honorary Degree of Doctor of Letters by Singapore President and NUS Chancellor S R Nathan at the Istana on 1 October 2009. Prominent guests witnessing the occasion included Minister for Foreign Affairs (MFA) Mr George Yeo, Minister for Education and Second Minister for Defence Dr Ng Eng Hen and Ambassador-At-Large at the MFA and Chairman of the Institute of Policy Studies Prof Tommy Koh.

Dr Lee is a noted businessman, philanthropist and patron of education and the arts. "I am deeply honoured that my contributions to the development of higher learning has been recognised. Having been raised in a family with a tradition of deep commitment to education, I believe in the importance of education in the advancement and betterment of society," he said.

At the award ceremony, Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences Prof Tan Tai Yong said: "Dr Lee Seng Tee's upbringing shaped his thinking in two fundamental ways: first, a firm belief in the power of education in improving the human condition, and second, his commitment to promote Asian culture, learning and prestige. He never strayed from these beliefs, and exemplified them in his career and lifestyle."

Prof Tan also noted: "Lee's world view of the empowering nature of education and his commitment to improving people's lives is amply demonstrated by the long-standing generosity of the Lee Foundation, of which he is deputy chairman, and through his personal support of and passion for promoting higher education worldwide." The Lee Foundation was formed by Dr Lee's father, Dr Lee Kong Chian, who was a prominent businessman and philanthropist and first Chancellor of the University of Singapore.

Dr Lee's support for education involved giving generously for building libraries and reading rooms, as well as supporting the acquisition of published resources to some of the most famous libraries in the world which include the Needham Institute at the University of Cambridge and the Bodleian at the University of Oxford. In addition, he funded a number of Distinguished Lecture Series in institutions which include the Institute of Advanced Study at Princeton and the Witwatersrand University in Africa. The Series provide a platform for outstanding scholars and policy-makers to address critical international issues.

For his generosity and spirit of promoting education, Dr Lee also earned honorary degrees and fellowships in the America, Europe, Asia and New Zealand. This included being appointed as the Honorary Fellow of the British Academy (1998) and Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (2001).

The conferment of NUS' highly prestigious Honorary Degree of Doctor of Letters is approved by the University's Senate and conferred on persons who have rendered distinguished service to the University or the community, in the advancement of learning or knowledge. Past recipients of NUS Honorary Doctor of Letters include His Excellency Dr Li Lanqing, former Vice Premier of the State Council, People's Republic of China, former President of Singapore Dr Wee Kim Wee and more recently, in 2008, Dr Wee Cho Yaw, Chairman of United Overseas Bank.


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