Issue 4 - Nanyang Technological University

Issue 4 - Nanyang Technological University

Issue 4 2011 Reg No. 200604393R

Generations of Champions

Milestone Record

Loyalty Keeps Flame Alive!

Every Little Victory Counts

Pacesetting Gifts with Meaning and Impact

Parents Pay It Forward

Faculty and Staff Lead by Example


of Champions


year, about 23 percent of undergraduates at NTU

require financial assistance. This may be a startling

statistic in a nation of seeming affluence, but the reality is that every

year, there are thousands of students whose life stories mirror that

of second-year chemistry major Johnny Tan who had to work 12-hour

weekend shifts on top of his studies to supplement the $1,700 his

father earned as a forklift driver.

Without socially responsible companies and business leaders who

step forward to bridge the gap, many of these students will have to

forego the full spectrum of opportunities open to them at NTU or even

defer their studies at the prime of their life.

The Business & Community Partners (BCP) programme at NTU plays

a vital role in providing a platform for corporations and community

organizations to transform the lives of financially-needy students

and help them achieve their full potential while setting the example

for others to follow. Since its launch in January 2011, nearly 130

companies including Audi, Far East Organization and Lubritrade

Trading Pte Ltd have joined the BCP programme.

Ms Geraldine Chng

Managing Director

Le Champ (S.E.A) Pte Ltd

The Business & Community

Partners programme provides

a platform for corporations and

community organizations to

transform the lives of financiallyneedy

students and help them

achieve their full potential.

One such visionary company is Le Champ (S.E.A) Pte Ltd, a leader in

supplying high-quality equipment and components for the electronics

and semiconductor industries.

Sharing the motivation behind Le Champ’s gift of $100,000, the largest

to the BCP programme thus far, Managing Director Geraldine Chng

said: “It saddened us to know that thousands of undergraduates are

financially-strapped every year and are forced to juggle between

studies and work.”

“The contribution from Le Champ is a small gesture to help some of

the needy students. We believe some day, they will be the leaders of

tomorrow. With their successes and achievements, we hope they will,

in turn, touch others and contribute to society.”

In addition to ensuring Singapore’s continued progress by nurturing

promising talents, the array of benefits BCP partners will gain

include access to recognition events such as invitations to NTU donor

appreciation dinners with VIP seating and inclusion in Honour Roll


Urging corporate leaders to take a strategic view of contributing

to the NTU BCP programme, Ms Chng exhorted: “Companies and

organizations, recognizing the importance of continuous pools of

talents to spur growth, need to come forward to contribute generously

to ease the financial burden of these students, enabling them to live a

full university life and become the best that they can be.”



NTU students celebrate their

graduation by leaving behind a Class

Gift, as they take away with them the

memories of their university life.


has once again claimed the

honour of having the highest

proportion of graduating students making a

class gift, with 80.02 percent of its graduating

cohort leaving a gift of money to its juniors –

by far the highest participation rate among

the three local universities.

This tradition, practised at many universities

worldwide, allows students to give something

back to their alma mater. Funds raised at

NTU go towards bursaries for needy students

and support various school programmes,

such as leadership activities and research.

Last year, 71 percent of NTU’s graduating

students gave back. This year, 4 in 5 of its

6,500 strong graduands made a contribution.

The amount raised has also gone up by close

to 9 percent – from about $97,000 last year to

more than $105,000 this year.

Much of this upswing is due to the unyielding

dedication of the Graduation Giving

Ambassadors, who pound the pavement,

knock on doors and tapped on their networks

to mobilize the class gift into an annual

movement that has captured the imagination

of all on campus.

While participation rate has hit a new high,

entrenching the practice into a tradition

that is now firmly taking root at NTU is not

without its challenges.

“Sometimes, we face rejections and it may

get discouraging. However, it is important

to know that with every two rejections come

eight positive responses,” said Wesley

Tham, past president of Graduation Giving

Ambassadors 2011. “Knowing that you have

a dedicated team of fellow ambassadors

makes the job fun and this motivates us to

want to give our best every time we serve.”

Taking the baton this year is Daniel

Chow, who became a Graduation Giving

Ambassador in February last year, and is

now the ambassadors programme’s 2012

president. The task of educating the student

body about the true significance of the class

gift is one of the greatest challenges, he said.

“What they fail to see is that the programme

is not about the money, but to inculcate a

habit of giving back to the school

as a start, and having

that participation

President of Graduation Giving Ambassadors 2011 Wesley

Tham (1st from right) presents the ‘cheque’ to President

S.R. Nathan (3rd from left), watched on by NTU President

Professor Bertil Andersson (1st from left); Education

Minister Heng Swee Keat (2nd from left) and NTU

Chairman Koh Boon Hui (4th from left)

spur the community and the country to in

turn participate in the growth of NTU as the

eventual goal.”

With yet another cohort now in its graduation

year, the final-year mechanical engineering

student is geared for the task ahead.

“I hope to achieve a participation rate of

more than the previous 80.02 percent for the

Class of 2012. This percentage reflects more

than just a KPI that we work towards; it’s

an indication of how many people we have

managed to influence and convince. Our

role as ambassadors is not merely to gather

‘gifts’ but to nurture a value of giving within

the graduating class so that they see giving

back as part of their lives.”

Loyalty Keeps Flame Alive


donors are the cornerstone of

NTU’s success, joining forces

with the University to grow the financial

resources to give students the learning

environment to nurture critical thinkers who

will be tomorrow’s leaders.

Thanks to the groundswell of support from

loyal donors who make a gift year after year,

the Annual Giving cycle is continued and

perpetuated, ensuring a steady flow of funds

to support the many meaningful university

and student causes.

The practice of paying it forward has, over the

years, been written into the DNA of the NTU

student cohort and by the time they graduate,

each student has imbibed the ideal of giving

back as much as they have received. Having

the benefit of hindsight with each campaign

has also helped the Graduation Giving

Ambassadors improve on and refine their

campaign strategies so that they harness

the most effective means of reaching out to

graduating students.

Wesley Tham, who was President of Class Gift

2011 Ambassadors, had recently graduated

and has immediately enrolled himself as

Alumni Giving Ambassador. His skills,

passion and leadership – nurtured when he

was a student ambassador during Graduation

Class Gift campaigns which he served for

three years – will put him in a strong position

to now advocate iGave to other alumni.

Said Wesley: “It’s more blessed to give than

to receive. Knowing that our giving will go a

long way to helping our juniors will make it so

much more meaningful.”

One of the major events on the Alumni Giving

calendar is Spooktacular – NTU’s annual

appreciation dinner for its loyal Annual Giving

donors. Now into its second year,

Spooktacular 2012 will honour some 200 loyal

alumni givers who have been contributing

consistently for between three and 10 years.

Alumni Lee Chee Siang made a gift of $1,000

this year, in addition to the $2,000 and $3,000

that he contributed over the past two years. He

said: “Giving back to education is something I

believe in. I believe every individual who has

the ability to get a tertiary education should

not be denied an education due to financial

difficulties. The alumni is an integral part of

the NTU community and therefore the alumni

should contribute when they have the ability

to do so.”

Keeping alumni connected with their alma

mater is no mean feat in itself, so Sharon

Tang, an alumni, decided to reward the

sincerity of a student Phonathon caller when

the latter took great pains to engage her. “I

had some queries and was impressed by the

patience and efficiently at which my concerns

were addressed,” she said. Her response: A

larger gift to the university than the one she

gave last year.

Progressing along the same trajectory is the

recently concluded Faculty and Staff Giving

campaign, which saw one in two Faculty and

Staff member make a gift.

In a newly minted initiative to reward loyal

givers of three consecutive years, 890 Faculty

and Staff members will receive loyalty pins in

the upcoming months.

Assistant Manager Gwee Rong Rong from

the School of Physical and Mathematical

Sciences, who has been a Faculty and Staff

Giving Ambassador for the past three years,

said she never tires of leading the charge in

her department. She said: “It gives me great

satisfaction to hear about bursary recipients

and know that I had a hand in it.”

Every Little




Lydia Vyona Lam placed a

call to an alumni broaching

the subject of a possible donation, she

almost regretted the action, for barely three

minutes into the conversation, she had her

ears chewed off by the irate alumni, who had

a bone to pick with every aspect of his past

experience at the university. Her patience paid

off however, when after listening patiently to

the tirade and going on to explain the rationale

behind her solicitation, the alumni willingly

opened his heart, mind and pocket and made

a contribution.

Said Lydia: “It was an immense victory

because I not only convinced him to make

a gift, I managed to change his perception,

and by caring about how he felt, I had, in turn

convinced him to care for his juniors.” Lydia’s

personal best was a $3,000 donation from an

alumni, but all gifts – big or small – matter to

her and she treats every donor with the same

respect and appreciation.

The NTU Student Phonathon programme is

part of the University’s work-study scheme

for Student Ambassadors to reach out to

fellow students and alumni, inspiring them

to support a good cause – the iGave Annual

Giving programmes. Now into its third year,

the programme has experienced exponential

success since it rolled out its new strategy

of using a new, more engaging script that

addresses the practical concerns of reluctant

givers; increasing the number of Phonathon

callers at each session and increasing the

number of Phonathon sessions.

With 24 phone stations manned by students

from 6:30pm to 9:30pm from Monday to

Thursday, and from 1pm to 8pm on Sundays,

hundreds of calls are made during the course

of the week to introduce the uninitiated to the

programme and to sustain a gift from a repeat


Work as a Phonathon caller can be stressful,

admits Lydia, who joined as an iGave

Ambassador in June last year. To let off steam,

she trades funny anecdotes with fellow


Her supervisor, postgraduate student Liu

Ying, even conducts competitions, quizzes

and games to keep the morale high during

these sessions. “I often tell my team not to

take rejection or angry words personally for

the person at the other end of the line may just

be having a bad day at work,” she said.

Phua Jia Min, Assistant Manager at the

Development Office who manages the Phone

Room shared that very often, success is

measured not by the number of gifts obtained

but via positive feedback after a call episode.

She explained: “Whenever I call someone and

he starts ranting about his bad experience,

I try to see if I can help, by linking him up

with the relevant person who can address

his problems. Sometimes, as a result of

that, the person I call makes a donation. But

even if he doesn’t, I am happy that I have at

least managed to get him some answers and

hopefully that will go a long way in banking

goodwill for the Phonathon programme.”

(L-R) Phua Jia Min, Liu Ying and Lydia Vyona Lam (seated)

(L-R) Liu Ying, Phua Jia Min

and Lydia Vyona Lam

The NTU Phonathon centre is

manned by students on the workstudy

scheme. They call alumni to

share their passion and conviction

in the value of the educational

experience at NTU, reconnecting

alumni back to their alma mater.

Parents Pay It Forward


Gan Seow Peng is a strong

advocate of the principle of

“paying it forward” for the future of the next generation. And what

better way to inculcate these values in his children than to lead by

example. He did so by making a gift of $1,000 to the Parents’ Giving

programme this year.

His gift, he explained, is a show of appreciation to what the University

had done for his son, Andrew Gan, who recently graduated from the

School of Computer Engineering and is now a systems analyst at a

statutory board.

He explained: “My son landed a job even before he graduated. He

enjoyed all his lessons in school and he has made good friends for life.

I think we have a lot to be grateful for.”

While these factors were the immediate catalysts that prompted the

gift, Mr Tan stressed the importance of having a heart for those in

need, particularly when one is in a position to do so.

He said: “I don’t want my children to take their lot in life for granted and

thus I have made it clear that we should show our concern to the less

fortunate – be it making a donation or doing volunteer work.”

This is a sentiment echoed by businessman Tan Chio Thiam, whose

son Tan Kian Tiong graduated from the School of Humanities and

Social Sciences.

Gifts from parents enable their

children and others to enjoy a worldclass

education, to be taught by the

best professors, to be exposed to

cutting-edge research and thought

leadership, and to access diverse

learning opportunities such as

international exchanges.

Mr Gan Seow Peng (2nd from right), Andrew Gan (1st from

right) and the Gan family

“This is just a small token of my appreciation to the university but I

know that the funds will go towards doing great things for the students

– be it getting them bursaries, furthering research or advancing

student activities,” he said.

Repeat Parents’ Giving donor Mr Tan Chim Hoon – who made a $3,000

gift this year in addition to the $2,000 gift he made last year – is

particularly excited about NTU’s Yunnan Garden Campus Master Plan,

which he read about in the media. The plan will transform NTU into a

mini-city and when fully realised in 2014, it will not just address the

physical needs of NTU but also develop facilities that can sustain new

forms of teaching and research.

His daughter Tan Jia Yi, a final year student at the Wee Kim Wee School

of Communication and Information, would have graduated by then, but

Mr Tan hopes that his gift will benefit other students whom he believes

will enjoy similar opportunities as Jia Yi.

He said: “I am proud that my daughter is studying in a university that

practices the ideal of “paying it forward” to ensure that students

of today enjoy the fruits of an education that will empower them to

provide the same opportunities for students of the next generation.”

Mr Tan Chim Hoon (seated) and Tan Jia Yi (standing)

The collective spirit of faculty and

staff giving back to NTU reflects

their dedication and passion towards

education, inspiring and affirming

external bodies, well-wishers and

individuals to join them in giving to

NTU’s future.


and Staff

Lead by



confetti had barely settled after

the celebration of a successful

Graduation Giving campaign when it was time

to bring out the bubbly again to toast a very

fruitful Faculty and Staff Giving campaign.

Faculty and Staff Giving 2011 achieved a

new record of 49.02 percent participation;

with almost one in two of NTU’s Faculty and

Staff making a gift to the university. Said

Professor Kam Chan Him, Associate Provost

(Undergraduate Education) who officiated

at the campaign wrap up party: “For a threeyear-old

programme, this is a remarkable


When the Faculty and Staff Giving programme

was started in 2009, the participation rate

was 29 percent. It improved to 34 percent

last year. Even though many were confident

that the bar would be raised even higher in

2011, it came as a pleasant surprise when

the 49.02 percent mark was hit. “We had set

the target at 40 percent this year; to exceed

this by more than nine percent is a wonderful

achievement,” said Associate Professor Yow

Kin Choong, Associate Professor, Division of

Computer Communications and Co-chair of

the Faculty and Staff Giving 2011 campaign.

This year, a total of 13 departments saw 100

percent participation, with every faculty and

staff making a gift at AAO, CAO, CCE, CCO,


and RSO.

While it may be easier for small departments

to galvanize everyone to give, EEE, one

of the largest schools at NTU with 600

Associate Professor Lok Tat Seng (front row, 2nd from

left); Professor Kam Chan Him (front row, 3rd from left),

Associate Professor Yow Kin Choong (front row, 4th from

left) celebrate at the Faculty & Staff Wrap up party

members, achieved a participation rate of

68 percent earning the well deserved title of

“Outstanding Team Spirit Award.”

In addition, three departments improved

markedly from their numbers last year.

ADM’s participation increased from 22.2

percent in 2010 to 69.6 percent this year.

MAE’s participation jumped from 11.4

percent to 55.2 percent. SCE’s participation

rate grew six-fold, from 11.4 percent in 2010

to 67.1 percent this year, winning the Most

Improved Performance Award.

Associate Professor Lok Tat Seng, Director

of Students, Student Affairs Office and

Co-chair of the Faculty and Staff Giving

2011 campaign, attributed the improved

performance to a greater awareness of the

reasons for contributing. He said: “Faculty

and Staff are taking ownership of the welfare

of students and now standing as a united

front to demonstrate to external contributors

that we are solidly behind the campaign


With the wrap up event celebrated on the

same day as the Mid-Autumn Festival,

Professor Kam drew a parallel between

the two occasions: “Mid Autumn festival is

traditionally held to commemorate a plentiful

harvest. So we celebrate our harvest,

which, at the end of a fruitful campaign, has

been rich and bountiful,” he concluded to

rapturous applause.

Pacesetting Gifts

with Meaning

and Impact


an alternate universe, businesses hold

conferences with parties thousands

of kilometres away using interactive realtime

3-D communication. In the biomedical

sphere, scientists may one day produce new

antibodies that fight 40 types of cancer while

engineers convert water into hydrogen fuel to

lower the cost of solar power.

Sounds far-fetched? Not anymore. These

solutions could become a reality — made

possible by partnerships among students,

faculty, researchers, scientists and engineers

at NTU.

The best hope for advancing environmental

sustainability, human health and technological

breakthroughs in today’s complex world lies

in research and education. To this end, NTU

has introduced the Premium Giving Circle,

a new pacesetting, iGave programme that

pools together donations of $1,000 and above

to form a critical mass of funds that could

be designated for education or research

and innovation.

Donors from the Premium Giving Circle

distinguish themselves as setting the pace

and standard for others to aspire to, making

a difference to the causes that they support in

a meaningful and impactful way.

Said Mrs Marina Tan Harper, Director of the

Development Office: “There is strength in

numbers. A critical mass of gifts at this level,

when pooled together, translates dreams

into realistic solutions through inquiry,

entrepreneurial actions, and life-changing

innovation and research.”

She added: “I see these pacesetting gifts as

boulders with might and strength to push

past our limits, reaching beyond the ordinary

with deep meaning and broad impact in

our community. Together, donors giving at

Premium Giving Circle levels will make a

real and tangible difference for society and


The Premium Giving Circle recognises

pacesetting gives of $1,000 and above

to form a critical mass of funds that

could be designated for education

or research and innovation.

Donors to the Premium Giving Circle can

designate their gifts towards three areas of

campus priorities:

School Advancement Fund – which supports

interdisciplinary collaborations to drive

research and development in NTU’s various

schools and colleges. Projects undertaken

using the School Advancement Fund will

be closely aligned with NTU’s Five Peaks of

Excellence, a strategic blueprint to develop NTU

into a great global university by 2015. NTU will

leverage on its diverse strengths, particularly in

engineering and business, and interfaces these

with various disciplines such as healthcare,

science and the humanities.

NTU Bursaries – to ensure that no deserving

students will be deprived of a quality education

due to financial difficulties.

Student Life Activities – include community

service projects, study tours, seminars and

international competitions, to give students

the necessary “beyond the books” exposure

to develop as holistic individuals and foster a

competitive edge. A significant part of the NTU

Campus Master plan is dedicated to developing

facilities and spaces that would enhance

student engagement and interaction, including

technologies that bring people together to

exchange and debate ideas and concepts.

Find out more about the iGave programme by contacting NTU’s Development Office.

Tel (65) 6790 6080

Fax (65) 6792 6627



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