National University of Singapore (NUS) alumni who found love on campus have come together to raise funds and establish the NUS Campus Couples Bursary Fund to help financially-disadvantaged undergraduates. The Fund was officially launched today at the NUS Campus Couples Valentine’s Dinner by Emeritus Senior Minister (ESM) Goh Chok Tong, who graced the occasion as the Guest-of-Honour.
To date, S$325,313 has been raised by NUS alumni and friends for the NUS Campus Couples Bursary Fund. This includes 12 NUS campus couples who made gifts of S$25,000 each. In line with this year’s celebrations for Singapore’s 50th year of independence, the aim is for the Fund to attract gifts totaling S$1.25 million to be able to eventually disburse 50 bursaries annually.
The NUS Campus Couples Bursary Fund is expected to disburse up to five inaugural bursary awards, valued at up to S$2,250 each, in the new Academic Year 2015/2016 which begins in August. The bursary will be open to all eligible needy Singaporean undergraduates in NUS.
NUS President Professor Tan Chorh Chuan said, “A university education should be a life-changing experience – a time of inquiry, exploration and personal growth; a culmination of knowledge gained, friendships forged and life lessons learned. I am really touched and heartened by the passion and commitment of our alumni in giving back to help ensure that financially needy NUS students will gain the full benefits of a transformative university education. We are deeply appreciative of their generosity. As we commemorate NUS’ 110th anniversary and Singapore’s 50th year of independence, we hope more will join us in keeping the University’s tradition of alumni giving alive.”
The NUS Campus Couples Bursary Fund was initiated by Mr Yeo Keng Joon, who met his wife Madam Kong Yuet Peng as a university student. The couple obtained their MBAs from the NUS Business School.
For Mr and Mrs Yeo, the setting up of the Bursary Fund to help financially-disadvantaged students is their way of giving back to the NUS community, having received financial help with their education. “The financial support I received changed the course of my life. Without it I would have struggled. I see a real need out there. Even though most people think Singapore is rich, there are still students who come from humble backgrounds who will benefit from financial support,” said Mr Yeo.
Mrs Yeo added, “We have a good family and marriage, and we are thankful. We would not have what we have now if we had not met on campus. We believe there are many more couples like us. With this Fund, we hope we can raise money to help needy students.”
Besides the fundraising activities, Mr Yeo has also initiated the NUS Campus Couples Alumni Group, to engage and reconnect alumni with the NUS community. It is an effective social platform to meet other alumni who are campus couples.
The Valentine’s Dinner, held this evening at the NUSS Kent Ridge Guild House in NUS, was the first event spearheaded by Mr Yeo for the NUS Campus Couples Alumni Group. The NUS Campus Couples Alumni Group and the NUS Campus Couples Bursary Fund were both officially launched at the event. A cheque for the amount raised so far was presented by Mr Yeo and Mr Johnny Tan, Chairman of the NUS Alumni Students Advancement Committee, to Prof Tan, and the ceremony was witnessed by ESM Goh. The dinner was attended by over 100 couples who met while studying in NUS, spanning decades from the 50s to the present day. These couples gathered tonight to celebrate their love, friendship as well as fond memories of their NUS experience. The dinner is set to be first of many to come, as part of a new annual tradition of campus couples returning to NUS mark the occasion of Valentine’s Day.
This article was first published on 13 February 2015 in NUS News at http://news.nus.edu.sg/press-releases/8607-emeritus-senior-minister-goh-chok-tong-launches-nus-campus-couples-bursary-fund
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