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.


Nanyang Technological Institute (1981-1991)

Old NTI Campus

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, an 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.


2023-Present  Prof Ho Teck Hua

2018-2022       Prof Subra Suresh

2011-2017       Prof Bertil Andersson

2003-2011       Prof Su Guaning

1991-2002       Prof Cham Tao Soon


Nanyang University (1955-1980)

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

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.


Old Nanyang University


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)

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.​