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NUS President first Singaporean to receive King's College honorary doctorate

14 November 2012

Prof Tan is the first Singaporean to receive an Honorary Doctor of Medicine degree from King's College London

NUS President Professor Tan Chorh Chuan has received an Honorary Doctor of Medicine degree from King's College London, the first Singaporean to be accorded the honour.

Honorary degrees at King's College are awarded "in recognition of an individual's conspicuous merit as demonstrated by their outstanding distinction". At the presentation ceremony on 13 November in the UK, Prof Tan joined fellow 2012 recipients UK's best-selling science communicator Mr Bill Bryson; award-winning chemist Professor Christopher Martin Dobson of Cambridge University; and The Right Honourable The Lord Judge, the Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales.

Prof Tan headed the successful Singaporean public health response to the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) epidemic in 2004 as the Director of Medical Services of the Singapore Ministry of Health. During the period of 2002 to 2003, an outbreak of SARS - a highly contagious viral respiratory disease in humans - in Hong Kong nearly became a pandemic with 8,422 cases and 916 deaths worldwide, according to the World Health Organization.

Prof Tan said: "I am honoured and humbled to be the first Singaporean to receive this recognition by King's College, alongside other outstanding individuals who have made significant contributions in their respective fields." He added that NUS' longstanding relationship with King's College will provide an impetus for more collaborations between universities and institutions in Singapore and the UK to create transformative innovations in research and education.

With a medical career in nephrology, Prof Tan helmed the NUS Department of Medicine before he was appointed Dean of the Faculty of Medicine and Chairman of the NUH Medical Board. He served as NUS Provost and Senior Deputy President before becoming President in 2008.

The distinguished physician played an instrumental role in driving Singapore's Biomedical Sciences Initiative since its inception in 2000, for which he received the National Science and Technology Medal in 2008. He was awarded the Singapore Public Service Star in 2003 for his outstanding contributions during the SARS crisis, and the Public Administration Gold Medal in 2004. He was one of the key forces in the establishment of the Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School.

An eminent medical scientist and education leader, Prof Tan is Deputy Chairman of Singapore's Agency for Science, Technology and Research, and a member of the World Economic Forum's Global University Leaders Forum. He is currently Chair of the International Alliance of Research Universities, a consortium of 10 leading research-intensive universities.