Singapore Government Press Release
Media Relations Division, Ministry of Information, Communications and the Arts,
MITA Building, 140 Hill Street, 2nd Storey, Singapore 179369
Tel: 6837-9666




I am very happy to be here at this lunch arranged by SMU to thank Mr Lim Kim San for his services to SMU as Mr Lim steps down from the Chancellorship.

SMU began as an idea. Singapore has two main universities - NUS and NTU which are the two main providers of university education in Singapore. NUS and NTU are Government universities and are established legally as statutory boards. As Government universities, NUS and NTU work closely with the Ministry of Education to settle their programmes, university admissions and other policies. Close interaction between NUS and NTU with MOE facilitate the smooth operation of the two universities and make sure that NUS and NTU are able to produce the number of university level professionals and graduates which our economy and society requires.

One disadvantage of such close interaction, however, is that it may inhibit the surfacing of different models of university education, how students are taught, and how departments are organized. When the opportunity arose to establish a third university level institution to provide additional places for students, RAdm Teo and I felt that rather than copying NUS and NTU, it would benefit Singapore�s university sector to establish a different type of university which would have a more arms-length relationship with the Government and which should have as much flexibility as possible to determine its own academic policies and programmes.

Coincidentally, the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania was looking to establish a presence in Singapore. Faculty members of the Wharton School had been in Singapore on previous occasions to run executive programmes or to conduct research and had built up sufficient knowledge of Singapore to feel that it would benefit Wharton to have some form of permanent presence in Singapore. When approached, the Wharton School readily agreed to accept a proposal to go into partnership with the Singapore Government to establish a private university in Singapore which would be small and innovative and run courses in business and allied disciplines, very much in line with Wharton�s philosophy. The concept of locating such a business-oriented university in the city was exciting and provided assurance to Wharton that the Singapore Government was serious in wanting to set up a high quality institution which would run on a different model from NUS and NTU.

When the time came to appoint a prominent personality to be the formal head of SMU, we searched for a person who was not only well-known nationally and familiar with the intricacies of Government but who had also built a reputation as a successful businessman. Mr Lim Kim San was the obvious choice to be appointed as the first Chancellor of SMU. SMU is fortunate that Kim San agreed to the appointment.

True to his nature, Kim San regarded the Chancellorship not as a sinecure but as an opportunity to enable him to take an active interest in SMU, attending SMU functions, meeting and inspiring the staff and presenting to the public an image of SMU as a credible, innovative institution which would enhance the diversity and richness of our university sector. The Singapore Government and SMU are deeply grateful to Kim San for the interest he has taken in SMU and for guiding the university in the last two years from a single office with no students, no faculty and no campus to what it is today � a fully functioning university, fully accepted in Singapore and increasingly gaining international recognition. As Kim San steps down from the Chancellorship, he can have the satisfaction of seeing SMU grow from a baby to a functioning adult.

With Kim San�s very large shoes to fill, it was not easy to find a credible successor and we are fortunate that Dr Richard Hu has agreed to succeed Kim San as the new Chancellor of SMU. Dr Richard Hu requires no introduction. His illustrious career as a Government Minister and as a businessman has made Richard Hu�s name a household word in Singapore for dedication, service and integrity. We welcome Dr Richard Hu as the new Chancellor of SMU.

Ladies and gentlemen,

May I ask you to rise and join me in a toast to thank Mr Lim Kim San for his years of service to SMU and to welcome Dr Richard Hu as the new Chancellor of SMU.

Thank you.