About Us

NTU's Development Office supports the University's giving mission by fostering meaningful relationships and strategic partnerships with philanthropists, alumni, business community partners, corporations, foundations and friends that result in goodwill and philanthropy towards education and research that underpin a shared sustainable future.

Together, we are nurturing the next generation of leaders and building sustainable support in education and academia, as part of the University's commitment to achieving excellence in education and research, in service of society and building a better future for all.

DO Office
DO Office
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The Birth of Nanyang University
The origins of Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU) can be traced to the establishment of Nanyang University in the 1950s, which was at the time the world's only Chinese-medium university outside of China and Taiwan. Before the opening of Nanyang University, students graduating from the Chinese high schools in Malaya mostly had to go to China for a tertiary education. The setting up of a tertiary institution for the Chinese in Malaya was first suggested by prominent Chinese businessman and philanthropist, Mr Tan Lark Sye, the Chairman of Singapore’s Hokkien Huay Kuan mooted the idea of a Chinese university. The building fund campaign kicked off the same year, with Mr Tan pledging a personal donation of $5 million and the Hokkien Huay Kuan donating 500 acres of land in Jurong as the site of the new University.

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Turning Vision Into Reality
The plan to set up the University received overwhelming support from the Chinese community, with both the rich and the poor donating generously to the building fund. Contributions were received from the working class, including taxi drivers, hawkers, trishaw pullers and cabaret dancers. Donations also flowed in from businessmen and associations in countries around the region.

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In her autobiography, author Han Suyin, who strongly rooted for the University's establishment, recalled the fervent efforts of the local community: "The trishaw pedallers of Singapore and Malaya pedalled for three days and turned in all they earned for Nanyang University, and theirs was the greatest sacrifice, for they were so very poor. Rubber tappers flocked to give; they knew that their children would never have a chance to go to university; but it was a gesture of cultural identity. It was incredible and magnificent, and it must be remembered."

Fund-raising communities also spread across Singapore and Malaya, raising funds through campaigns, charity concerts, competitions, and art exhibitions. Chinese clan associations were major donors. Hokkien Huay Kuan’s donation of five pieces of land in the west of Singapore became the spot where Nanyang University would be built. Nanyang University was officially opened on 30 March 1958, two years after the start of its first classes. The first batch of 584 students was admitted in 15 March 1956. For 25 years until its merger with University of Singapore, Nanyang University was the only Chinese university outside China.

Continuing the Legacy of Our Forefathers
NTU's history of giving is an eminent symbol of our founding fathers’ legacy. Their priceless gift of education has given future generations the opportunity to aspire and achieve; and their legacy lives on in every generation of students, researchers and faculty across all fields and specialties.

Front entrance of Nanyang University Image via NAS.

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