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In appreciation of His Excellency S R Nathan

31 October 2011

Mr S R Nathan enjoying a light-hearted moment at the appreciation dinner

Mr S R Nathan receiving a memento from NUS Board of Trustees Chairman Mr Wong Ngit Liong

Students, staff, senior administrators and alumni gathered over an appreciation dinner hosted by NUS on 28 October 2011 in honour of His Excellency Mr S R Nathan, Singapore's 6th President and former NUS Chancellor.

Reminiscing about his university days at the University of Malaya which later became NUS, Mr Nathan shared that university education had taught him many lessons. "The university gave me an entrée to knowledge. Over time the experience taught me how to use this knowledge and apply myself to the many tasks that were given to me, all without a brief. It enabled me to make my own brief. I like to believe that even the presidency was my own brief. The university enabled me to face circumstances in each of my careers because I was fortified by the knowledge I had acquired in the university," Mr Nathan told the guests.

NUS President Prof Tan Chorh Chuan, who first met Mr Nathan at an Academy of Medicine event in 2003, said that Mr Nathan's most notable and appreciated quality is his genuine warmth and ability to put others at ease, which spring from his sincere interest in people and deep sense of humanism.

He added: "Mr Nathan really cares about people. At NUS, we feel very privileged that as our Chancellor, Mr Nathan also cared deeply about our community and our institution. He was truly generous with his time, wise counsel and energy. Through his many initiatives and actions, he touched the lives of countless students, faculty, staff and alumni and was a source of inspiration for many. For this, we are indeed very grateful."

In a jovial mood at the dinner, Mr Nathan not only gave an impromptu speech on the important role of the university in his life, he also shared candidly on his personal views and experiences during a dialogue session moderated by NUS Vice Provost (Student Life) Prof Tan Tai Yong. The questions posed included what were Mr Nathan's most memorable moments as NUS Chancellor, why today's university students are less engaged with what is happening in Singapore and the world as compared to the days when Mr Nathan was a student, as well as the kind of President Singapore needs.

A tribute video, where various representatives from the NUS community, expressed their appreciation and well wishes for Mr Nathan, was also screened at the close of the dinner.

Mr Nathan served as Singapore's second elected President from 1999 to 2011. Throughout these years, he was concurrently the Chancellor of NUS, a position he relinquished on 1 September 2011. NUS' new Chancellor is Dr Tony Tan Keng Yam, the current President of Singapore.