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Founding Prime Minister Conferred Honorary Degree from NUS 

From left to right: Chairman of NUS Board of Trustees, Mr Wong Ngit Liong, Mr Lee Kuan Yew, President Tony Tan Keng Yam, Education Minister Heng Swee Keat, and NUS President Prof Tan Chorh Chuan.

The honorary degree is the University's highest form of recognition for outstanding individuals who have rendered distinguished service, and had a great impact on the University and Singapore community.

The Honorary Doctor of Laws was conferred on Mr Lee Kuan Yew in recognition of his widely admired leadership as Singapore's first Prime Minister, his vision, commitment and countless contributions to economic and societal advancement in the country, as well as his strong affiliation and contributions to the University.

NUS President Prof Tan Chorh Chuan said: "Mr Lee Kuan Yew is the visionary leader behind Singapore's success. As the country's founding Prime Minister, Mr Lee transformed Singapore from a shipping port with no natural resources into a thriving, first-world city-state where Singaporeans enjoy economic, social and political stability.

He is a brilliant and charismatic international statesman, a leader who has transformed education in Singapore. NUS is deeply honoured to confer on Mr Lee the Honorary Doctor of Laws in recognition of his remarkable achievements and signal contributions to Singapore and the world beyond."

Mr Lee, who was born in Singapore in 1923, was educated at Raffles College, Singapore, a predecessor institution of the National University of Singapore, and Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge, England. He was called to the Bar, Middle Temple, London, in 1950 and practiced law in Singapore. Mr Lee became Singapore's Prime Minister in 1959, serving successive terms until he resigned in November 1990, when he was appointed Senior Minister. He was later appointed Minister Mentor in August 2004, stepped down from the position in May 2011. Mr Lee is currently Senior Advisor to the Government of Singapore Investment Corporation.

Prof Simon Chesterman, Dean of NUS Law, was given the honour of serving as the public orator, and delivering a citation on Mr Lee, highlighting testimonials of Mr Lee’s role in the development of Singapore as a country. In his citation, Prof Chesterman said: “Few people are so closely identified with the entire history of a country, as Mr Lee Kuan Yew is with Singapore. Few people have had such an impact not only on a nation’s development but also on its character. That impact stretches far beyond Singapore, as the testimonials I recited earlier — and countless more — demonstrate.”

Prof Simon Chesterman delivering a citation on Mr Lee.

He adds: “His success launched a country, inspired a continent, and earned admiration from around the world.”

On receiving the honorary degree, Mr Lee said: "Education has been critical to the growth and success of Singapore. I hope that Singaporeans will continue to seek out an education that nurtures them to think critically and innovatively to meet the diverse and complex challenges ahead. I thank NUS for conferring on me this honorary degree." 


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