Record $200m raised for 2 varsities to honour LKY

Record $200m raised for 2 varsities to honour LKY
NUS and SUTD held an appreciation dinner for donors in support of education initiatives to celebrate 90th birthday of Mr Lee Kuan Yew at the Istana on September 3, 2013.

SINGAPORE - A fund-raising drive in honour of former prime minister Lee Kuan Yew has garnered a record $200 million for two universities, making it one of the largest philanthropic gifts ever collected here.

The National University of Singapore (NUS) and Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) had set out in January to raise funds for education to mark Mr Lee's 90th birthday later this month.

Last night, they unveiled their results: More than 30 donors had contributed a total of more than $100 million to each school.

And with the Government set to provide matching grants, each university might end up with anywhere from $200 million to $400 million.

The last time NUS received a donation on this scale was in 2007, when Hong Kong tycoon Li Ka Shing gave $100 million to the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy. SUTD's first fund-raiser last year yielded $2.5 million.

This year's funds will pay for programmes, scholarships and bursaries at both universities.

Speaking at an Istana dinner to thank donors, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said education has always been one of his father's key priorities: "Personally, he has been an ardent student, learning new skills even till old age, wrestling with Microsoft Word and other challenges of the computer age."

He reiterated the message that those who had done well and benefited from Singapore's education system had an obligation to give back.

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