The National University of Singapore (NUS) Mechanical Engineering (ME) Class of 1992 has marked the silver jubilee of their graduation by setting up a scholarship to support the best and brightest students who face financial difficulties. As the champion for this fundraising drive, Associate Professor Ong Soh Khim (Engineering ’92), who is today a faculty member at her alma mater, galvanised her classmates to mark their class anniversary in a meaningful way. Mr Raymond Lau Yean Liang (Engineering ’92) came forward as the anchor donor for the Fund by making a gift of more than S$150,000.
Assoc Prof Ong’s personal journey motivated her to spearhead the Class’s 25th anniversary award. “As a primary school student, I received a few bursaries as my family was very poor. When I was an undergraduate, there were not many forms of financial aid so, in addition to taking loans from my father’s CPF, I gave tuition and worked part-time in a fast-food restaurant.
“I have met many undergraduate students who have worked part-time to finance themselves. I initiated this scholarship fundraising campaign as a person’s potential and future should not be limited, or constrained, by his or her financial circumstances. I hope to help deserving students achieve their potential by relieving them of some of their financial needs,” she explains.
Mr Raymond Lau, who today is Managing Director of private investment firm Qilin World Capital, also benefited from financial aid before establishing himself as a successful executive. “Once, when I needed the funds, I took a loan from the Lee Foundation. After you have accumulated some wealth, it is important to contribute back to society. Giving financial aid to current undergraduates is something very practical in life. I have been supporting charity initiatives each year for the past several years, and, since this is my own class initiative, I felt that it would be very meaningful to participate,” he shares.
Thanks to the generosity of the many donors who supported the fundraising drive, every academic year, the ME92 Class Scholarship will support four financially needy undergraduates, with good academic results, who are in their final year of study in the Department of ME.
Looking back on her experience of leading a fundraising campaign, Assoc Prof Ong reflects, “It is a satisfying experience when it is “mission accomplished” although at the start of the fundraising campaign, it seems almost impossible to achieve the targeted amount.”
Mr Lau’s wish is that the ME92 Class Scholarship will set in motion a cycle of giving. “We hope that these students, after their graduation, will start to contribute back into our endowment fund or start their own class scholarship fund to help future needy students,” he says.
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