When SEA games gold medallist Jovina Choo, 25, was an undergraduate at Nanyang Technological University (NTU), the national sailor had to miss school sometimes due to her hectic training schedule.
But her lecturers at the sport science and management programme were encouraging, and went out of the way to make arrangements for her, she said.
"I remember one year I had to miss my exams... They told me I could take them after I came back from my training trips," she said.
For her contributions to Singapore sports, she was awarded the Nanyang Outstanding Young Alumni award at NTU's annual alumni night yesterday. A total of 31 outstanding former students were honoured.
NTU is planning to engage them on a larger scale, Professor Bertil Andersson, NTU's president, said. The university is planning an alumni council that will advise the university management and himself, he said. "We have 200,000 alumni now. That's an enormous wisdom and experience. And I think we... will be stupid if we didn't have big ears for them." Plans are also under way for an alumni house on campus, he added.
Of the award recipients last night, Minister of State for Manpower Teo Ser Luck, Public Utilities Board chief executive and former top cop Ng Joo Hee, and Brunei's Education Minister Pehin Abu Bakar Apong received the Nanyang Distinguished Alumni Award, the highest honour of the night. Mr Teo, who graduated from the accountancy programme in 1992, said he had fond memories of his university years. "I stayed in a hostel all three years. In the morning, we attended lectures, but after school, it was some studying and a lot of play time."
Madam Moliah Hashim, 57, principal of Princess Elizabeth Primary, was awarded the Nanyang Alumni Achievement Award for her contributions to the education sector and the Muslim community. She was chief executive of Muslim self-help group Mendaki for four years. "As an educator, the value of giving back to society is something I want to nurture in our students," she said.