Donations fund new SMU programme, scholarships

Programme backs efforts that champion social transformation in vulnerable communities

A new programme supporting initiatives that champion social transformation in vulnerable communities will be rolled out in the upcoming academic year at Singapore Management University (SMU).

A total of $400,000 out of a $2.4 million sum donated by the estate of the late Ms Diana Koh, a veteran in the accounting and advisory field here, will support this programme, said the university in a statement on Friday. She died in May 2019 at the age of 56.

The Diana Koh Social Transformation Programme, administered by SMU's Lien Centre for Social Innovation, will fund up to 12 local internships or six overseas internships each academic year for five years. The internships have to be with relevant international and local organisations working with vulnerable communities.

A Social Innovation Fund will also be set up for interns to implement innovative ideas to help vulnerable communities. The programme will also fund projects undertaken by SMU students or faculty that focus on creating knowledge and solutions related to social issues in areas such as food security, climate change, access to healthcare and education.

The donation from Ms Koh's estate will also fund two new scholarships - the Diana Koh Postgraduate Scholarship and Diana Koh International Scholarship.

The postgraduate scholarship will be awarded to Singaporean and Singapore permanent resident students in financial need who are pursuing postgraduate programmes in Master of Science in Accounting (Data and Analytics) and Master of Professional Accounting at SMU's School of Accountancy.

Eleven postgraduate students will be supported by this scholarship over the next five years. The international scholarship, which is bond-free, will be given yearly to a non-Singaporean female student in financial need from Asean. It will cover a full four-year undergraduate programme at SMU.

Ms Janet Lim, administrator of Ms Koh's estate, said Ms Koh travelled extensively in the region during her professional life and would have been proud to provide opportunities to deserving students in the region and Singapore.

SMU also announced two awards available to serving and aspiring judges studying at the university, after the Jones Day Foundation donated US$1 million (S$1.3 million) to the university. The Jones Day Foundation is a non-profit organisation funded by Jones Day lawyers and staff. The donation will fund the Jones Day LLM (Judicial Studies) Scholarships and the Jones Day Top Scholar Award.

The inaugural batch of the scholarship, valued at $40,000 per person, has been awarded to four international participants of the new Master of Laws in Judicial Studies programme jointly offered by SMU's Yong Pung How School of Law and the Singapore Judicial College under the Supreme Court.

The Jones Day Top Scholar Award, valued at $10,000, will be awarded yearly to a graduating student who excels in the programme, which is designed to provide advanced training for serving judges and judicial aspirants both in and outside of Singapore.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 19, 2021, with the headline 'Donations fund new SMU programme, scholarships'. Subscribe