Distinguished Science Alumni Awards 1999
TAN Keng Yam Tony
Deputy Prime Minister (1995--2005)
Chairman, National Research Foundation and Singapore Press Holdings

The Faculty is indeed pleased and proud that Dr Tony Tan accepted our inaugural Distinguished Science Alumni Award in 1999. We have all been the beneficiaries of his contribution to Singapore's education scene. As the then Minister for Education as well as the first Vice-Chancellor of NUS, and also Minister in charge of NUS and NTI/NTU, he streamlined the nation's education system. Among other things, he made entry to the university more flexible, increasing the number of ways students could qualify for the university, expanding NUS programmes and setting up facilities to cater to a higher intake.
He read Physics at the University of Singapore. He topped his cohort in 1962 with First Class Honours, garnering several academic awards. On receiving his Master of Science degree in Operations Research in 1964 from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, he returned to his alma mater as Lecturer in the Physics Department and later with the Mathematics Department after obtaining his PhD in Applied Mathematics from the University of Adelaide in 1968. He joined the Overseas Chinese Banking Corporation in 1969.
Responding to the needs of Singapore he was elected MP in 1979 when he was also appointed Senior Minister of State (Education). He became: Minister for Education in 1980 with responsibilities extending to being in charge of NUS and NTI. His much admired and appreciated Ministerial duties include Trade and Industry (1981-6), Finance (1983-5), Health (1985-6), Education (1985-91) and Defence (1995-2003). He also served as Deputy Prime Minister (1995-2005) and Co-ordinating Minister for Security and Defence (2001-5).
In 2005 he became Chairman of the National Research Foundation and Singapore Press Holdings, Deputy Chairman, Research, Innovation and Enterprise Council, and GIC Deputy Chairman and Executive Director.
In October 1997, Dr Tan was made honorary fellow of the Singapore Institute of Physics together with Nobel laureate Jerome Friedman, 'for their contribution to education and the promotion of science.' He also headed the Technopreneurship 21 programme, to set up a conducive environment and world-class facilities to give creativity and entrepreneurship a boost. Dr Tony Tan has also received an NUS Eminent Alumni Award. A write up on this may be found on http://www.nus.edu.sg/centennial/alumniawards/tky.htm