Nanyang Technological University (NTU) today announced a gift of $150 million by the Lee Foundation towards the new medical school with half of the sum going directly to needy students. Together with the enhanced Singapore Government matching, NTU will receive a gift amounting to $400 million.
The new medical school, a partnership by NTU and Imperial College London, was announced by Prime Minister Mr Lee Hsien Loong at his National Day Rally speech on 29 August 2010. The agreement was officially signed by the two universities on 29 October 2010.
In recognition of the gift, the new medical school at NTU will be named the Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine, after the founder of the Lee Foundation, renowned business leader, pioneer and philanthropist Tan Sri Dato Lee Kong Chian. Tan Sri Dato Lee founded the Lee Foundation in 1952 to help the poor and needy and for the advancement of education, medicine and cultural activities.
A spokesman for the NTU Board of Trustees said, "It is with great pride and honour that we name the new medical school, the Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine. The new school will train doctors who hold dear in their hearts a commitment to serve the community. Tan Sri Dato Lee had a vision to use his wealth not for personal betterment but to improve society as a whole. His selflessness and generosity will be an inspiration to the students of this medical school named in honour of him."
The $150 million from the Lee Foundation will be used to establish two endowment funds at the new medical school. Half of the gift - $75 million - is specifically designated for an endowment fund offering student financial aid in the form of scholarships, bursaries and other forms of student financial support. The remaining $75 million will form another endowment fund for the advancement of medical education and clinical research at the new medical school.
Said a Lee Foundation spokesman, "Lee Foundation is honoured to be chosen by NTU and Imperial College to be partners in moving Singapore's medical education a step further. Together with the enhanced Singapore Government matching, this school will contain some of the best features of current medical education, and also provide assistance to bright and needy medical students who can pursue their life's mission."
Tan Sri Dato Lee was a philanthropist who believed not just in the importance of education but also in research. In 1965, he donated $1 million, a significant amount in those days, to the Singapore Medical Research Funds to start the Institute of Medical Specialties.
"Establishing a medical school through a partnership between two world-class research intensive universities - NTU and Imperial College London - will significantly expand the opportunities for multi-disciplinary research such as in biomedical engineering; translational and clinical research; and also health services research.
"Breakthroughs in these areas will not only directly benefit Singaporeans but will also contribute to the well-being of the wider regional and global community. The Lee Foundation's gift will therefore have a multiplier effect that extends beyond the new medical school," said Mr Lim Chuan Poh, Chairman of the new school's Pro-tem Governing Board.
In keeping with the pioneering spirit embodied by Tan Sri Dato Lee, the Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine will pioneer a new form of medical education in Singapore, taking a science-based approach and adding modern methods such as e-learning. Its distinctive course will take advantage of NTU's strengths in engineering to educate highly-rated clinicians able to harness the technological advances taking place in the medical world, and who will put the patient's individual needs at the centre of all care.
It will admit the first batch of students in 2013. Graduates from the Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine will receive a joint MBBS (Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery) medical degree under the seals of Imperial College London and NTU. The founding dean is Professor Stephen Smith who is also Pro Rector (Health) at Imperial College London.