Ex-minister Jayakumar to get top NUS honours

SINGAPORE - Former senior minister S. Jayakumar will receive top honours from the National University of Singapore (NUS) at its annual awards ceremony on Thursday.

He will be given the Outstanding Service Award for his contributions to the university's law faculty and Centre for International Law, as well as his political work in Singapore and globally.

"To get an award from one's alma mater is something very special," he said of the award.

Professor Jayakumar was a graduate of the then-University of Singapore's third cohort of law students in 1963 and joined the faculty the year after and rose to become its dean 10 years later.

He took leave from the university in 1980 to enter politics, and as an office-holder for about 30 years, wore various hats as minister for law, home affairs, labour and foreign affairs.

In 2004, he was appointed Deputy Prime Minister in Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong's Cabinet and the following year, the Co-ordinating Minister for National Security.

He served as Senior Minister from 2009 until his retirement from politics in 2011.

The announcement of his departure from politics was met with many tributes.

Most prominent was PM Lee's valedictory letter, which highlighted Prof Jayakumar's achievements. It was his "calm, decisive" move to storm a hijacked Singapore Airlines plane in 1991 that resulted in the successful rescue of all passengers, unharmed.

After retiring from public office, he returned to his first love: law. He chairs the NUS Law Advisory Council and serves as patron to the NUS Centre for International Law, heading its international advisory panel - all without remuneration, which he waived.

Earlier this year, the Government appointed him co-chair of an international transboundary pollution panel.

Prof Jayakumar is among nine singled out by NUS for their achievements.

International health leader and cardiovascular researcher Victor J Dzau, who will also get the Outstanding Service Award, is credited as the "initial proponent and force behind the creation of the Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School".

The university will also confer the Emeritus Professor title on four faculty members: engineering professor Cheong Hin Fatt, anatomy professor P Gopalakrishnakone, as well as Prof Doyle G. Graham and Prof Augustus John Rush from the Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School.

English literature assistant professor Susan Ang will be given the Outstanding Educator Award. Biomedical engineering professor Lim Chwee Teck will get the Outstanding Researcher Award and computer science assistant professor Seth Gilbert, the Young Researcher Award

This article was published on May 5 in The Straits Times.

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