YAP KIM HAO PROFESSORSHIP IN COMPARATIVE RELIGIOUS STUDIES (2014)
Reverend Dr Yap Kim Hao prayed alongside a Buddhist monk under the historic Bodhi tree, a sapling of the original tree under which Gautama Buddha gained enlightenment. He fasted alongside Muslims during Ramadan and offered prayers at the Eyüp Sultan Mosque in Turkey.
The first Asian Bishop (1968 –1973) of the Methodist Church in Singapore and Malaysia, Rev Dr Yap was the former Vice-President of the Inter-Religious Organisation (Singapore) and Pastoral Advisor of the Free Community Church, Singapore. He was also the Convenor of Singapore Interfaith Network on AIDS and former Chairman of the Chen Su Lan Trust. He retired from full-time Christian ministry but continued to advocate for inter-faith dialogue. He once said,“Mere tolerance and an uneasy co-existence are not sufficient. We need to be pro-active and vigilant in promoting a mutual understanding of one another’s faiths, and work together for the common good in a diverse and inclusive community.”
A man of deep scholarship, Rev Dr Yap (born in 1929) held a Master of Divinity and Doctor of Theology degrees from Boston University, US. Rev Dr Yap did his undergraduate studies at Baker University in Kansas.
Rev Dr Yap preached a message of inclusion and acceptance, emphasizing “common spiritual values”. He was a spirited defender of the oppressed and the marginalized. At the age of 15 he was beaten up by a group of Japanese soldiers, which left him disabled and keenly aware of the powerlessness of the victim.
Yale-NUS College established the Yap Kim Hao Professorship in Comparative Religious Studies in his honour. Rev Dr Yap said, “The issue of religion is increasingly important and a study of comparative religion is absolutely necessary to reduce religious conflicts and promote religious harmony. A Professor of Comparative Religious Studies is a breakthrough in tertiary education and augurs well for our common future.” The Professorship is supported by a gift from an anonymous donor.
YEOH GHIM SENG PROFESSORSHIP IN SURGERY (1993)
The first to perform closed heart surgery in Singapore (1957). The first to perform open-heart surgery under hypothermia (1960).The first local Professor of Surgery at the University of Malaya (1955–62), as NUS was then known. Pre-eminent surgeon Professor Yeoh Ghim Seng was a trailblazer. He was also instrumental in the introduction of the Primary F.R.A.C.S. Examination in Singapore, which helped to establish qualified local surgeons in Singapore and the region.
Prof Yeoh, born in 1918 in Ipoh, Malaysia, saw the patient-doctor relationship as ‘a vital force’,viewing “the human being and his suffering” as the “raison d’etre of this profession”. He studied at the University of Cambridge, St Thomas’ Hospital, London, and obtained his FRCS after training as a surgeon in various hospitals in England.
In 1950 he joined the General Hospital (now SGH), contributing enormously to medical practice and education by training younger doctors. He founded the Academy of Medicine, Singapore, in 1957, with Professor Gordon Arthur Ransom and former President of Singapore Dr Benjamin Henry Sheares.
Professor Low Cheng Hock, Emeritus Consultant at Tan Tock Seng Hospital, reminisced, “Prof Yeoh was a great surgeon who was clear in his thoughts and teaching, confident in action, caring in spirit and precise in his surgery.”
Prof Yeoh passed away in 1993.
He had always maintained a close relationship with NUS, as the first local Professor of Surgery and later as Chairman of the University Council. The University conferred the honorary Doctor of Letters degree upon him in 1981.
To celebrate his outstanding achievements, NUS established the Yeoh Ghim Seng Professorship in Surgery. The Professorship was supported by gifts from friends, former students and patients, led by Professor Arthur Lim, Southeast Asia’s father of ophthalmology.
The Professorship has enabled the University to welcome eminent professors from around the world to share their expertise as well as to collaborate in research and education with the University community.
YONG LOO LIN PROFESSORSHIP IN MEDICAL ONCOLOGY (1996)
Dr Yong Loo Lin was a successful doctor and businessman, who was a committed advocate for education. The third son of businessman Yong Nee Chai, who came to Southeast Asia from China in the 1890s in search of a better life, Dr Yong trained as a doctor at the University of Hong Kong. He subsequently became a successful businessman. His love of education could be seen in the keenness with which he supported the education of his daughters, Yong Siew Yoon and the late Yong Siew Toh. His commitment to education lives on through the Yong Loo Lin Trust, which supports educational causes ranging from medicine to music, with transformational gifts.
With support from Yong Loo Lin Holdings Private Limited, NUS established the Yong Loo Lin Professorship in Medical Oncology in Dr Yong’s honour. The Professorship recognizes the growing importance of cancer research and clinical care in Singapore. Cancer is the leading cause of death among Singaporeans. As the population ages and the expectations and demands for advanced care increase, the need for Singapore to continue to build up its cancer expertise is greater than ever.
The Professorship enables the University to engage eminent professors to share their expertise and experience in Medical Oncology. Particular emphasis is given to the contributions and insights they can offer to Singapore and its ever-growing regional and international role. The Professor also co-operates in research and educational initiatives with other faculty members.
YONG PUNG HOW PROFESSORSHIP (2008)
A man who wears many hats, Mr Yong Pung How was a successful lawyer, banker, and senior government official before he became Singapore’s Chief Justice in 1990. To every position, he brought efficiency and focus and here, too, he set about clearing the backlog of 2,000 cases in an overwhelmed system.
Mr Yong introduced aggressive case management with alternative methods of dispute resolution and the use of technology. He increased the number of courts and created the Justice’s Law Clerk scheme. By the mid ’90s, the backlog had cleared and Singapore’s legal system was on track to becoming one of the world’s finest.
In a varied career, Mr Yong was, among other positions, Chairman and CEO of OCBC Bank, and head of the Government of Singapore Investment Corporation (GIC) and Monetary Authority of Singapore, where he streamlined the use of foreign reserves.
But the law ran in Mr Yong’s veins. He is the only son of pioneer lawyer Yong Shook Lin. Born in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in 1926, Mr Yong studied law at Cambridge,where he became friends with Mr Lee Kuan Yew and Ms Kwa Geok Choo (who later became Mrs Lee Kuan Yew). Their paths crossed again in 1953 when Mr Yong was appointed sole arbitrator in a labour dispute between the government and workers. The lawyer who represented the union was none other than Mr Lee.
NUS established the Yong Pung How Professorship at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy to honour an eminent alumnus and legal mind as well as the friendship of two patriots – Mr Lee and Mr Yong.
The Professorship enables the School to attract a top public policy talent to facilitate the exchange of ideas and research on the latest global public policy developments.
The Professorship is supported by a gift from the Yong Shook Lin Trust.
YONG SHOOK LIN PROFESSORSHIP IN INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY LAW (2002)
Mr Yong Shook Lin was the first Chinese to be called to the Bar of the Federated Malay States. His practice, Messrs Yong Shook Lin, now Shook Lin & Bok, set up in 1918, is one of Malaysia’s oldest law firms.
A brilliant Cambridge-trained lawyer with a strong social conscience, Mr Yong played an active part in public affairs. He was a member of the Federal Legislative Council, a prominent figure in the Malaysian Chinese Association and Chairman of the Bar Council of Malaya.
The opportunity to contribute to society is what motivated Mr Yong, says his daughter Madam Phyllis Yong. After hearing that 60 to 70 people were living crammed into fire-hazardous squalid shophouses, Mr Yong was instrumental in setting up Petaling Jaya, Kuala Lumpur’s first satellite town, to resettle lower income workers. Yong Shook Lin Road in Petaling Jaya was named in his honour.
Born in 1898 in Kuala Lumpur, Mr Yong was conferred the Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (CBE) by Queen Elizabeth II.
At his passing in 1955 at the age of 57, the Attorney General said,“He was a man of firm principles. When he decided that a particular course was right and proper, he followed that course with unrelenting determination and he met criticism fairly and boldly.”
NUS established the Yong Shook Lin Professorship in Intellectual Law to honour a pioneer of his profession. The Professorship enables the University to bring in eminent academics in the field of Intellectual Property Law and increase the number of subjects offered in this field.
The Professorship is supported by a generous gift from Mr Yong’s son, Mr Yong Pung How, former Chief Justice of Singapore, and his wife. Mr Yong Pung How, also educated at Cambridge, had been a partner at Shook Lin & Bok.
YUSOF ISHAK PROFESSORSHIP IN SOCIAL SCIENCES (2015)
Race and religion are important issues facing all societies. The legacy of Encik Yusof bin Ishak offers optimism for successfully negotiating the challenges of race and religion in the present. Born in 1910, Singapore’s first President lived through wars, freedom struggles, civil unrest and race riots, staying committed to his worldview of a multi-cultural and democratic society – one which he championed throughout his life. As Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong noted in his National Day Rally 2014 speech, “He was an outstanding pioneer who stood for the values that underpin Singapore’s success – meritocracy, multi- racialism and modernity.”
Born in Perak, Malaysia, Encik Yusof bin Ishak rose from humble beginnings to become the first Malayan- born Yang Di-Pertuan Negara in 1959 and later, the first President of the Republic of Singapore on 9 August 1965. He was an outstanding student and sportsman. A distinguished journalist and editor, Encik Yusof took a keen interest in understanding and fostering multi-cultural, multi-ethnic and multi-religious thought in the national consciousness. He was a prominent patron of the arts, a member of the Films Appeal Committee, the Nature Reserves Committee and the Malaynisation Commission. His exemplary career was also marked in his appointment as the Chairman of the Public Service Commission in July 1959.
As Chancellor of the University from 1965 to 1970, Encik Yusof urged the University community to focus on nation-building in addition to becoming a center for scholarship.
NUS has recently established the Yusof Ishak Professorship in Social Sciences at the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. The Professor is expected to assume stewardship for enhancing cutting-edge research in one or more of the following fields of study: race, ethnicity and community studies and multi-culturalism; communication and civic engagement; and studies of religion and religious diversity.
The Professorship is supported by donations from various organizations and individuals.