“The way to go forward for a country is to provide the right education to uplift human capital and to attract the right talents. For this same reason, we have a heart towards educational causes,” says well-known philanthropist Dr Shaw Vee Meng, Chairman of charitable organisation the Shaw Foundation.
When the National University of Singapore’s (NUS) Centre for Musical Activities (CMA) shifted to the University’s Kent Ridge campus in the early 1980s, the Shaw Foundation made a generous gift to fund the building of its new premises, now known as the Centre For the Arts (CFA) studios. The gift was made in honour of Tan Sri Dr Runme Shaw, who was the Chairman and Founder of the Shaw Organisation of Singapore.
And since then, the Shaw Foundation has been steadfast in its belief in the value of a National University of Singapore (NUS) education and unwavering in its support of the University’s many programmes and initiatives. From improved diagnosis of childhood diabetes, to the preservation of Singapore’s natural history in the soon-to-be opened Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum at NUS, to student support, the Foundation’s gifts have left a lasting impact on many lives and areas across the University.
Since 1987, the Foundation has awarded some 240 scholarships to deserving students at NUS in recognition of academic excellence. Dr Daniel Lee Hsien Chieh (’04), who was a recipient of the Shaw Foundation Scholarship and graduated from NUS’ Faculty of Medicine, says, “I am thankful for the Shaw Foundation Scholarship. As a student, this award helped defray part of the costs of my textbooks and medical equipment that were expensive but very important in the course of my studies. The generosity of our donors touched me.” Daniel went on to complete a Master of Public Health course at Harvard University, US, with the Fulbright Scholarship. He is now Assistant Director of Operations at Changi General Hospital, leading the operations of five frontline departments.
For Lau Shi Ting, a Third Year student at NUS’ Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, the Scholarship has allowed her to focus on her studies, bringing her one step closer to realising her dream of pursuing a career in Psychology. She says, “The Shaw Foundation Scholarship has helped to lessen the financial pressure on my parents without me having to contemplate part-time work. It has enabled me to focus my efforts on performing academically. For this, I am truly grateful.”
NUS’ vast and distinguished alumni network has also benefited from the Shaw Foundation’s generosity. Thanks to a S$10 million gift from the Foundation, the Shaw Foundation Alumni House (SFAH) was established in 2009. Dr Shaw describes the SFAH as “a platform for alumni to come back, to meet, to discuss and contribute to future improvements to the University”.
The SFAH has hosted many events – film forums, appreciation lunches, alumni networking sessions – for alumni as well as students, staff and faculty. “With the SFAH, we wish to instil a spirit of belonging to the University. I think in order to inspire the next generation to give, one will have to set a living example for them to follow and also educate them on the importance of giving back to society,” Dr Shaw says.
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