Prof Cham Tao Soon became the founding President of Nanyang Technological Institute (NTI) in 1981. He continued his tenure as the President of the then-NTI till 1990. After NTI was reconstituted as Nanyang Technological University in 1991, he served as the President of NTU until December 2002. Prof Cham was conferred the title of President Emeritus on
23 July 2007.
As the President of NTU for 22 years, he played a historic role in building up the university, transforming NTI from its humble beginnings into a major university for industry and business. Just four years into its operation, NTI was singled out as one of the best engineering institutions in the world by the Commonwealth Engineering Council in 1985.
During his term, Prof Cham was also instrumental in overseeing landmark building projects within NTU's Yunnan Garden campus, including the School of Biological Sciences and the Research TechnoPlaza.
Beyond NTU, Prof Cham has been involved in the formation of the Singapore Management University in 1997, as a spin-off from the Singapore Institute of Management. He is currently the Chancellor and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of SIM University.
Prof Cham remains active in the local industry and the engineering profession, having served on Boards such as Natsteel Ltd, Singapore Press Holdings, United Overseas Bank and WBL Corporation Ltd. He has also served on high-level committees, including the Council of Presidential Advisers.
Prof Cham holds a Doctor of Philosophy (Fluid Mechanics) from the University of Cambridge, UK, and has received a number of awards, including the Public Administration Gold Medal and the Distinguished Service Order, both conferred by the Singapore government.