The Tan Kah Kee Professorship was launched on 21 October 1996 by President Ong Teng Cheong at National Institute of Education (NIE) to honor the late Mr. Tan Kah Kee and to pay tribute to his exceptional and wide-ranging contributions. A donation of S$1.5 million from the Tan Kah Kee Foundation and a dollar-for-dollar government matching grant made the Professorship possible.
The aim of the professorship is to enhance the research profile of the University by enabling NTU to appoint eminent persons in the various fields of specialization. 2 Professors visited NTU under the said Professorship. They were Prof King Ning-Tu, University of California, Los Angeles, USA and Prof Chang Ngee-Pong, City College of CUNY, USA who visited EEE and MSE respectively.