President Tony Tan Keng Yam was yesterday conferred an honorary doctorate by his alma mater, the University of Adelaide, for his contributions to Singapore's development in scientific research, education and public life.
In accepting the honour, Dr Tan reminisced about his days as a doctoral student here, while elaborating on how Singapore has benefited from its education ties with Australia.
"My wife and I remember fondly the warmth and generosity of our Australian friends and have been looking forward to returning to this beautiful city," Dr Tan said in a speech at the ceremony.
The President, here as part of a six-day state visit to Australia, completed his PhD in applied mathematics at the university in 1968 and, during the three years spent here with his wife Mary, his eldest son was born.
Dr Tan received the honour for his contributions to Singapore's development into a global hub of scientific research and education, and for his "exceptional contribution" to public life.
In his 27 years in political office, Dr Tan helmed the Education and Defence ministries, among others, and also served as deputy prime minister.
University vice-chancellor Warren Bebbington described Dr Tan as "an outstanding advocate for educational and cultural relations between Australia and Singapore, and a true friend of the University of Adelaide".
Dr Tan also received the university's Distinguished Alumni Award in 2005.
In his speech, Dr Tan held up education as one of the key pillars in the countries' bilateral relations.