SMU15: A Retrospective on 2015

In this blog post, we chronicle the memorable moments and events held in celebration of SMU’s 15th Anniversary and Singapore’s Golden Jubilee.


SMU15 was officially launched on Patron’s Day 2015, an event that was graced by SMU Patron, Singapore President Tony Tan Keng Yam. It was an especially significant occasion for President Tan, who was instrumental in the establishment of the University and became its second Patron in 2011.

SMU15 and SG50

Main photo: Patron’s Day 2015

SMU Patron and Singapore President Tony Tan (3rd from left) and SMU Chairman Mr Ho Kwon Ping (3rd from right) with (left to right) SMU President Professor Arnoud De Meyer and former SMU Presidents Professor Janice Bellace, Professor Ronald Frank and Professor Howard Hunter with their personalised ‘Smoobie’ mascots.

Bottom photos from left to right:

  1. In July, the university celebrated the graduating cohort, acknowledging their achievements as they stepped into the world as future leaders of business, government, academia and private enterprises during SMU Commencement 2015 .
  1. In celebration of Singapore’s Golden Jubilee in its birthday month, SMU launched a coffee table book: “Singapore at 50: The Business of Nation-Building”. The book chronicled corporate milestones of 17 major local organisations and industries during Singapore’s first five decades of independence. Authored by writers from the university in partnership with the institutions that critically shaped people’s lives and the economy, the retrospective book paid tribute to industry stalwarts that led Singapore from infancy to a first-world nation, and marked SMU’s 15 years of contribution to the island-state. In this photo, SMU President Professor Arnoud De Meyer (right) presents the SMU SG50 Book for the Singapore Armed Forces, to Guest-of-Honour Dr Maliki Osman, Minister of State, Ministry of National Development & Ministry of Defence, and Mayor, South East District (left).
  1. At the 7th Ho Rih Hwa Leadership in Asia Lecture, Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong delivered a speech on “Singapore: The Past, The Present, and The Future”. PM Lee shared about the achievements of our pioneers that transformed Singapore into what it is today, and encouraged young Singaporeans to rise up and play a part in shaping our nation in the next 50 years. The 3,500-strong audience included political office holders, representatives from the diplomatic community, the SMU community as well as principals and students representing the various ITEs, Junior Colleges and Polytechnics. This was, to date, the largest turnout in the history of SMU lectures.
  1. SMU steps forward and supports the SG50 Jubilee Big Walk. Professor Arnoud De Meyer, President of SMU, leads a contingent of SMU undergraduates, members of staff and their friends.

In 2015, we were honoured to host several academic luminaries and global thought leaders who presented lectures in their respective fields. Some of the highlights for this year’s Presidential Distinguished Lecturer Series included:

  • Dr. Mari Pangestu, Minister of Tourism and Creative Economy, Indonesia, discussed issues concerning her country’s economic and political reforms under the era of a new President. With the challenges faced in the domestic and international arenas, will Indonesia continue to achieve unprecendented growth? These were some of the pressing concerns discussed at the lecture.
  • Professor Craig Calhoun, Director and President of London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) shared his erudite views on “Capitalism, Externalities and Social Institutions”. In the pursuit of profit by corporations, sometimes external effects like environmental damage may result. During the lecture, Professor Calhoun discussed how social institutions like governments, educational institutions and economic bodies can help to mitigate these externalities.

At another SMU hosted event, Nobel Laureate in Economic Sciences Sir James Mirrlees delivered a thought-provoking lecture on “The Causes of Economic Inequality”. This lecture was part of the Nobel Prize Series Singapore 2015, where four Nobel laureates were invited to speak in Singapore on 6 November 2015. Sir James discussed how rising income inequality is becoming a major social-political issue across the world.

Photos: Sir James Mirrlees (left), Dr. Mari Pangestu (top right) and Professor Craig Calhoun (bottom right).

Photos: Sir James Mirrlees (left), Dr. Mari Pangestu (top right) and Professor Craig Calhoun (bottom right).

But lest you think SMU is all about academia and nothing else, on 21 September 2015, SMU commemorated the United Nations’ (UN) International Day of Peace with its largest celebration of this annual tradition in a decade to mark SG50 and SMU15. Students from about 40 nationalities—which was the most diverse representation ever for the annual event—participated in this year’s celebrations.

Photo: SMU students and SMU President Professor Arnoud De Meyer (with tie) at the unveiling ceremony of the Peace Pole.

Photo: SMU students and SMU President Professor Arnoud De Meyer (with tie) at the unveiling ceremony of the Peace Pole.

And what would a university be without its students? On 7 December 2015 at the SMU Leadership Symposium, Vice Provost Professor Pang Yang Hoong launched ‘Snapshots by SMU’, a microsite sharing real stories of our students and their inspiring experiences of their co-curricular activities (CCAs). Done in a fun photojournalistic style, the microsite offers personal insights from student leaders, sharings by esteemed industry and community leaders, as well as lifestyle articles which connect SMU to our wider community.

Snapshots by SMU

Photo source: Snapshots by SMU

As we reflect back on 2015, we are proud of the outstanding accomplishments of our students, faculty members and alumni. 2016 is just peeking round the corner and we look forward to another fantastic year ahead!