Class gifts have been a major tradition of almost every educational institution, and the National University of Singapore (NUS) is no exception. There are many causes in NUS which need support, and one such worthy cause is helping future colleagues with the cost of education.
An alumnus from the MBBS Class of 1981 remembers the strong bonds the class forged. “We have a special friendship as we have been through much together. Bonding starts from day one at medical school. I remember the fights and the quarrels but also the helping of one another in all matters big and small. We had a class gathering where almost the whole class came together and many from various parts of the world came back to meet up and catch up with each other,” shares Dr Francis Seow (’81).
In 2010, the MBBS Class of 1981 felt it was time to make a difference, and active fund raising for a Bursary commenced, with the response still going strong today. Currently, the NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine administers 140 bursaries annually to students from families with a certain per capita income a month, but it is estimated that up to 300 students are in financial need.
Professor John Wong (’81) asserts, “We are who we are because of NUS. NUS allowed us to become doctors and have the careers we’ve enjoyed for more than 30 years. No Government subsidy will ever cover the whole cost of medical education. If we don’t help, who will?”
Other class bursaries established at NUS Medicine include the NUS Medical Society – Christine Chong Hui Xian Bursary (Class of 2012) and the Balaji Sadasivan Fund for Medical Undergraduates (Class of 1979). Both were initiated by alumni who wanted to honour the memory of a classmate who had passed on. For the latter, the class believed Dr Sadasivan would have supported the idea of funds channelled to help financially needy students rather than spent on an obituary in the newspapers. Many saw this as an opportunity to help future doctors and gave generously. With the unexpectedly positive response, the donated amount exceeded targets and the Balaji Sadasivan Fund was eventually transformed into an endowment.
Professor Yeoh Khay Guan, the current Dean of NUS Medicine, expresses great confidence in The School’s alumni. He says, “Class bursaries are a very meaningful way of creating a lasting memory of what you and your classmates stand for, and have come together to do. It creates a long-term legacy, which will last forever and each year give young students a helping hand. Each of us is successful today because an opportunity was given to us. Now that we are in a position to do so, let us give back and help a student in need. “
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