New master's scholarship at Lee Kuan Yew's alma mater

A new master's scholarship at Cambridge University's Fitzwilliam College, the alma mater of founding prime minister Lee Kuan Yew, has been launched following a £300,000 (S$528,000) donation by the Hong Leong Foundation.

The philanthropic arm of the Hong Leong Group donated the sum to the Lee Kuan Yew Fitzwilliam Fund, the group said in a statement on Wednesday. The money will be used to establish the LKY Hong Leong Masters Scholarships at Fitzwilliam College, one of Cambridge's 31 colleges.

Mr Lee studied there from 1947 to 1949, and graduated with a "starred First" (First Class Honours with Distinction) in law before he returned to Singapore and embarked on his political career. He was elected as an honorary fellow of Fitzwilliam College in 1969.

Hong Leong Group said the donation would be able to fund the scholarship programme for between five and 10 years, depending on what students choose to study and the length of their courses.

The programme will allow candidates to undertake part of their studies in Singapore, or embark on a project that involves joint collaboration between Cambridge University and a university here.

The first scholarships will be awarded from October next year, and applications will open on the college's website from next month.

Fitzwilliam College had hosted a memorial service for Mr Lee a week after he died on March 23, 2015, as well as a conference on The Legacy of Lee Kuan Yew and the Future of Singapore in October that year.

After the conference, college leaders decided to find a more permanent way to commemorate the late Mr Lee, and discussed this with alumni, before coming up with the idea of a fund to honour him.

Mrs Nicola Padfield, master of Fitzwilliam College, thanked Hong Leong Foundation for its contribution. "Fitzwilliam College really values our historic and continuing relationship with Singapore, and I am delighted that we have been able to recognise this by building on the memory of Lee Kuan Yew, through the inauguration of a fund that will nurture this relationship for a new generation of scholars," she said.

Mr Kwek Leng Beng, the foundation's governor and executive chairman of Hong Leong Group, said the late Mr Lee was a "source of inspiration" who stamped his mark on Singapore by shaping the nation and business values here.

The foundation's donation was part of efforts to remember and honour Mr Lee's legacy, he added.

"We are investing in the next generation of outstanding young scholars and the long-term future of Singapore," said Mr Kwek.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 08, 2017, with the headline 'New master's scholarship at Lee Kuan Yew's alma mater'. Print Edition | Subscribe