NUS honours 15 alumni for outstanding contributions to alma mater and society

E-commerce platform Carousell's co-founders (from left) Mr Marcus Tan Yi Wei, Mr Lucas Ngoo Cheng Han and Mr Quek Siu Rui, received the Outstanding Young Alumni Award as a team on Thursday (Nov 23) PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

SINGAPORE - For the first time, a team accolade has been presented to three former National University of Singapore (NUS) students at the university's biennial alumni awards.

E-commerce platform Carousell's co-founders Quek Siu Rui, Lucas Ngoo and Marcus Tan, received the Outstanding Young Alumni Award as a team on Thursday (Nov 23) at the NUS Alumni Awards ceremony, where a total of 15 alumni were honoured for their outstanding contributions to their alma mater and society.

The award recognises the trio's stellar achievements and entrepreneurial spirit.

The entrepreneurs had stumbled upon the business idea to create an application for people to sell their used goods in a simple way, after a stint in Silicon Valley under the NUS Overseas Colleges programme.

Carousell, launched five years ago, is now one of the world's fastest growing marketplaces.

Mr Tan, 34, who graduated in 2011 with a business administration degree, said the accolade is "a validation that the problem we are solving is a meaningful one that impacts many people, not just in Singapore but around the world".

Mr Quek, 29, graduated with a business administration degree in 2012, while Mr Ngoo, 29, received his engineering degree in 2013.

Six other alumni aged 40 and below also received the Outstanding Young Alumni Award at the ceremony, held at the NUS Ridge View Residential College.

They include Dr Neo Mei Lin, a prominent marine biologist, and Dr Sin Yong, a doctor who uses magic as a tool to spread the message of hope to patients.

Five individuals, including veteran theatre practitioner Lim Hai Yen and DBS Bank chairman Peter Seah, were presented with the Distinguished Alumni Service Award, which recognises alumni who have distinguished themselves in rendering excellent service to NUS.

Mr Seah encouraged NUS graduates to share their experience with students, "to help mould them to make impactful contributions to their chosen industry."

This year (2017), the highest honour for NUS alumni - the Eminent Alumni Award - went to Venture Corporation chief executive Wong Ngit Liong, who was the chairman of the NUS Board of Trustees from 2004 to 2016.

Past recipients of the award, given to alumni who have distinguished themselves nationally or globally for their exceptional contributions and achievements, include Ambassador-at-large Tommy Koh.

Under Mr Wong's leadership, NUS was transformed from a respected local teaching institution into a leading global university.

The 76-year-old said it was a privilege to "answer the call to serve NUS and Singapore at the time when the Singapore Government was making the bold and wise move to corporatise NUS and operate as an autonomous university".

"Looking back, the last 12 to 13 years of my life at NUS have been uniquely precious, richly blessed and wonderfully memorable. There are so many wondrous moments that made my life and time here at NUS so joyous, so satisfying that it has changed my perspective - from wondering why am I spending time at NUS to discovering new meaning, new inspiration and the joy of making a difference to the lives of many students," he said.

He added: "To be honoured by this award conferred on some of Singapore's most outstanding leaders is truly humbling and exciting."

List of recipients for NUS Alumni Awards 2017

NUS Eminent Alumni Award

Mr Wong Ngit Liong

Chief executive officer and chairman of Venture Corporation; former chairman of NUS Board of Trustees

NUS Distinguished Alumni Service Award

Mr Peter Seah Lim Huat

Chairman of DBS Group Holdings, DBS Bank and Singapore Airlines

Ms Chew Gek Khim

Executive chairman of The Straits Trading Company

Professor Chua Nam-Hai

Andrew W. Mellon professor and head of laboratory of Plant Molecular Biology, The Rockefeller University; deputy chairman of Temasek Life Sciences Laboratory

Ms Lim Hai Yen

Playwright and artistic director, The ETCeteras

Emeritus Professor Chen Hsiao Yun Louis

Founding director of Institute for Mathematical Sciences

NUS Outstanding Young Alumni Award

Dr Azariah Tan Peng Chay


Ms Betty Tsai

Associate research scientist at Procter & Gamble International

Mr Jeffery Tiong Jee Hui

Founder and chief executive officer of PatSnap

Mr Mohamed Fairoz Bin Ahmad

Founder and executive director of Chapter W

Dr Neo Mei Lin

Research fellow, St John's Island National Marine Laboratory and Tropical Marine Science Institute, NUS

Dr Sin Yong

Doctor and magician

Mr Quek Siu Rui, Mr Marcus Tan Yi Wei, Mr Lucas Ngoo Cheng Han (team award)

Co-founders of Carousell

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