SINGAPORE - President Halimah Yacob's characteristic concern for the less well-off and the need to advance communities was underlined on Tuesday (Nov 14) by National University of Singapore's (NUS) president Tan Chorh Chuan when he welcomed her as its 10th chancellor.
He recalled her stressing on several occasions at the university's board of trustees' meetings the importance of giving poor students financial aid so that they can access the full range of the university's programmes.
"She also urged us to encourage and support more active engagement of our students with the wider community," Prof Tan said at a lunch in the NUS University Hall.
Indeed, her sense of public service and unwavering dedication to serve and advance the lives of individuals and communities, particularly the disadvantaged, are her most enduring qualities, he noted.
The chancellor's post at NUS, according to its Constitution, is filled by the President of Singapore.
President Halimah, an alumnus of NUS Law Faculty, was a member of the university's board of trustees from 2006 to 2011. Last year, she received an honorary degree from the university.
Tuesday's event was also marked by Madam Halimah, Singapore's first woman president, unveiling the university's official flower, an orchid named Papilionanda National University of Singapore.
The hybrid shares an ancestry with Singapore's national flower, the Papilionanthe Miss Joaquim.
President Halimah, in her speech, outlined NUS transformation over the years in student development, research and start-up culture.
Apart from providing an education, NUS had focussed as well on developing students who become active contributors to society, she noted.
Now, it is also a "global research powerhouse", and has a vibrant start-up and entrepreneurial culture among students and faculty members, she said.
"Innovation and entrepreneurship remain important cornerstones to Singapore's continued success in the future."
In acknowledging the honour of being the chancellor of her alma mater, she added: "What is even more meaningful for me is that the university continues to have a strong tradition of service."