Our History

​​Nanyang Technological University (1991-present)


Inaugurated on 1 July 1991, Nanyang Technological University (NTU) started out as a teaching university which has today transformed into a research-intensive global university.

Its predecessor institution, Nanyang Technological Institute (NTI), was set up in 1981 on the grounds of the former Nanyang University to educate practice-oriented engineers for the burgeoning Singapore economy.

In 1991, NTI merged with the National Institute of Education to form Nanyang Technological University (NTU). The alumni rolls of the former Nanyang University were transferred to NTU in 1996.

NTU became autonomous in 2006 and is today one of the two largest public universities in Singapore.

2018-present    Prof Subra Suresh

2017        Prof Bertil Andersson

2003-2011        Prof Su Guaning

1991-2002        Prof Cham Tao Soon

A rich heritage: national monuments on campus 
Gazetted as a national monument in 1998 and now housing the Chinese Heritage Centre, the beautifully restored former Nanyang University Administration Building, with a distinct oriental character, overlooks the historical Yunnan Garden. The Nanyang University Memorial and original Nanyang University Arch were also declared national monuments of Singapore in 1998. The NTU Art & Heritage Museum is recognised under the National Heritage Board’s Approved Museum Scheme.​

Nanyang Technological Institute (1981-1991)

Nanyang Technological Institute (NTI) was set up on 1 August 1981 with a charter to train three-quarters of Singapore’s engineers.

Within four years of operation, it was singled out as one of the best engineering institutions in the world by the Commonwealth Engineering Council. The Council reached this verdict after an extensive four-year study of the courses offered by engineering institutions worldwide.

When NTI started in 1982, it had a total student population of 582 in three engineering disciplines – civil and structural, electrical and electronic, and mechanical and production engineering. By 1990, the institute’s undergraduate student population had grown to 6,832. The first two graduate students were admitted in 1986.

Three engineering schools were added, and
the School of Accountancy from the National University of Singapore was transferred to NTI in 1987. A school of applied science was also started.

In 1990, the government announced that the Institute of Education would be merged with the College of Physical Education to form the National Institute of Education and that it would be part of NTU upon its establishment in 1991.

1981-1991   Prof Cham Tao Soon

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Nanyang University (1955-1980)

Founded in 1955, Nanyang University was the first and only Chinese university established outside China and Taiwan.

The idea of establishing a Chinese university was first mooted by Mr Tan Lark Sye on 16 January 1953. On
23 March 1953, the Hokkien Huay Kuan donated 523 acres of land for the university. Mr Tan himself donated S$5 million. His call for the establishment of the Chinese university received enthusiastic support from communities all over Southeast Asia.

In 1955, a pre-university class was started to prepare students for entry into the new university. The first batch of 584 students was admitted in 15 March 1956. There were three faculties: arts, science and commerce. Research activities were started as early as in 1957. The first batch of 437 graduates was produced in 1959. Seven years later in 1963, the student enrolment reached 2,324.

In 1980, Nanyang University closed its doors when it was legislated to merge with the University of Singapore. In 1981, Nanyang Technological Institute was set up on the premises of the former Nanyang University.

For more on the history of Nanyang University, visit the NTU Chinese Heritage Centre.

     1954-1955  Lin Yu Tang

      1956-1960  The university was managed by an Executive Council
      1960-1964  Chuang Chu Lin
      1965-1969  Huang Ying Jung (Acting)
      1969-1972  Rayson Lisung Huang
      1972-1975  Hsueh Shou Sheng
      1975-1976  Lee Chiaw Meng
      1976-1977  Wu Teh Yao (Acting) 
      1977-1980  Tan Chok Kian (Director General)




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