28 May 2018: Yale-NUS celebrates Graduation 2018

By Julian Low 

It seemed only yesterday that the Yale-NUS community celebrated the graduation of the inaugural student cohort from the Class of 2017. One year later, it is now time for the students of the Class of 2018 to spread their ‘kingfisher’ wings and embark on the next chapter of their lives.

On 28 May 2018, more than 1000 distinguished guests graced the event at the recently refurbished University Cultural Centre at the National University of Singapore (NUS). These included members from the Yale-NUS Governing Board, NUS Board of Trustees as well as faculty, students, parents, donors and industry partners.

The College’s second graduating class comprised 160 students, including graduands from the pioneer batch of the Double Degree Programme in Law and Liberal Arts and graduands from the Concurrent Degree Programme in Public Policy with the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy. Graduands were presented to Madam Kay Kuok Oon Kwong, Chairperson of the Yale-NUS Governing Board and Executive Chairman, Shangri-La Hotel Limited, Singapore, who presided over the ceremony.

Many of our students are looking forward excitedly to their post-graduation plans. Several have secured jobs in various industries and others will be pursuing graduate studies.

Students who had received job offers will be heading to a variety of industries, such as education, science and engineering, finance, technology and start-ups, communications as well as consumer and lifestyle. They will be taking on various roles in organisations in the public and private sectors, such as the Economic Development Board, Facebook, Temasek Foundation Ecosperity and Visa amongst others.

Those who have chosen to pursue graduate studies have been accepted into programmes at prestigious universities such as Cornell University, Duke University, Duke-NUS Medical School, the University of Cambridge and the University of Michigan.

Sherice Ngaserin Ng Jing Ya was awarded the inaugural Yale-NUS Overseas Graduate Scholarship.

This year saw the College award the inaugural Yale-NUS Overseas Graduate Scholarship, which is offered to Singaporean Yale-NUS graduates pursuing a PhD at top ranked international graduate programmes, to Sherice Ngaserin Ng Jing Ya (Class of 2018). Sherice will be heading to the University of Michigan to pursue a PhD in Philosophy. Upon completion of their programme, scholars may be appointed as postdoctoral fellows at Yale-NUS.

The Class of 2017 Award, which was made possible through the generosity of Mrs Doris Sohmen-Pao, was awarded to Tee Zhuo (Class of 2018) for his outstanding contributions to the College as selected by the senior class.

Two awards were also presented at the ceremony. The Class of 2017 Award, which was made possible through the generosity of Mrs Doris Sohmen-Pao, was awarded to Tee Zhuo (Class of 2018) for his outstanding contributions to the College as selected by the senior class. Tee served on the Academics, Internal Affairs and Communications committees of the inaugural student government at Yale-NUS. With a strong passion for writing, research and public policy, Tee co-founded and launched the first Yale-NUS undergraduate academic journal as a Co-Editor-in-Chief.

The Emerging Young Leader Award, which was made possible through the generosity of Mdm Kay Kuok, was awarded to Ng Ming Zhong, Daniel (Class of 2018) in recognition of his outstanding contributions in addressing a local or global challenge to enhance the quality of life in the community. Daniel has been actively involved in pro bono work, contributing to The Military Justice Project, an initiative at the NUS Faculty of Law that aims to provide accessible legal assistance to servicemen in the Singapore Armed Forces. He also launched Youth-in-Form, which aims to link alumni with Singaporean schools that do not have a well-established or well-structured alumni association.

Professor Tan Tai Yong, President of Yale-NUS College, congratulated the students and encouraged them to apply the skills they had learnt at College to challenging times ahead. “You will meet people from different places who speak different languages and do things in different ways. On occasion, these differences may jar and they may have serious repercussions or even be unresolvable. That is when some of you will find the liberal values, that you’ve been schooled in, put to the test. Life can be tough, unfair and absurd. You will need a healthy dose of equanimity to navigate it and I hope your time at Yale-NUS has given you the skills that will prove useful in the future,” he said.

The graduation speaker was Professor Kishore Mahbubani, Senior Advisor (University & Global Relations) Professor in the Practice of Policy at NUS.

Graduation speaker Professor Kishore Mahbubani, Senior Advisor (University & Global Relations) Professor in the Practice of Policy at NUS challenged the graduands to pursue and fulfil their “wild and impossible” dreams in a turbulent world. “I wish you great success, and if you fail, from time to time, as we all inevitably do, pick yourself up and keep going,” he said.

Associate Professor of Humanities (Music) Sarah Weiss spoke on behalf of the Yale-NUS faculty.

Associate Professor of Humanities (Music) Sarah Weiss, who spoke on behalf of the College faculty, noted that the graduating students had built a closely knit community at the College. As one of the inaugural Rectors, she was proud of how the students enthusiastically embraced the idea of belonging to these residential college communities and developed an intellectual community that reveled in academic discourse across disciplines and world views. Calling on the graduating class to continue staying engaged with the Yale-NUS community, she said, “You have your vibrant Yale-NUS community to accompany you in your new worlds. Nurture it, for you will need its worldly wisdom and deep understanding of who you are and where you come from.”

Cheryl Nazik Cosslett was the Class of 2018 speaker. 

A loud cheer swept through the hall when Cheryl Nazik Cosslett, the Class of 2018 speaker, went on stage to deliver her speech. She thanked her peers for their passion, dedication and commitment to the College and urged them to carry on the legacy of Yale-NUS with humility, noting that “continuing a legacy is as worthy as starting one, and that self-sacrifice and community have defined us as Yale-NUS students and should continue to define us as Yale-NUS graduates.”

Although the Yale-NUS community will miss the Class of 2018 dearly, we wish all of them every success for their future endeavours!