December 3, 2020 marked a proud day at Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine as staff and faculty joined together for the LKCMedicine Appreciation Day and inaugural Dean's Awards. Colleagues and distinguished guests gathered for the hybrid virtual and in-person event to pay tribute to the extraordinary service and dedication of the people that makes the School the world-class institution it is today.
The celebrations – also incorporating Long Service awards presentation and the School's very first Support Staff Day – were opened with a 'virtual' performance from dance collective LKCrew from student year groups Year 1- Year 3, setting the feel-good factor and sense of occasion for the event.
In what he hoped would the first of an annual tradition in future years, Dean Professor James Best then welcomed everyone to the awards ceremony from the School's Ong Tiong Tat and Irene Tan Liang Kheng Auditorium, where he hosted a small group of attendees, Vice-Deans, the COO, and award winners.
In celebration of the exceptional staff and faculty woven into the rich tapestry of LKCMedicine, he said, "We've got to stop and celebrate our achievements," referring to the widely-read book by Brene Brown, Dare to Lead.
Prof Best added that although the world had been shaken by the global pandemic, the School had flourished against the odds, which was a credit to the character and spirit of excellence among the School's community.
He commended the staff and faculty's commitment to keeping the momentum of the MBBS programme alive by migrating it online, while seamlessly managing the virtual Class of 2025 White Coat ceremony and Celebrating the Class of 2020 event, to ensure our students' achievements continued to be honoured.
Prof Best then paid tribute to the administrative teams and support staff for their diligence in safeguarding everyone's wellbeing during the pandemic. He also praised the research teams for their innovation in collaborating with external bodies for example in delivering COVID-19 related seminars – in particular with Imperial and NHG – as well as the many research grants won and research papers published.
The Dean's words were followed by a video of pre-recorded congratulatory messages from LKCMedicine Vice-Deans Associate Professor Andrew Tan (Faculty Affairs), Professor Lim Kah Leong (Research), Professor Jennifer Cleland (Education), Professor Pang Weng Sun (Clinical Affairs), and School COO, Dr Serene Ng.
Prof Lim Kah Leong said he was delighted that the School's Support Staff were celebrated at the LKCMedicine Appreciation Day. He gave his thanks to the unsung heroes behind the scenes, such as the research assistants and the management support officers "for their tremendous efforts for ensuring the success of the School… it is collectively that we achieve many milestones."
Prof Jennifer Cleland particularly praised the School's transition to online education in light of the pandemic, saying "I have to thank all of the staff involved in that, from IT and Digital Learning to MSO staff, to faculty, to adjunct staff." She added, "When I look around the world, we managed so well."
Dr Serene Ng lauded the resilience and determination of all LKCMedicine staff and faculty to stay on course in what has been a challenging year. "Appreciation Day is meant not just to thank our award winners, but really to thank all of our support staff."
This then led to the stars of the show, the awardees, to collect their awards from the Dean onstage in the auditorium.
Associate Professor Yusuf Ali won the Dean's Award for Service, while Associate Professor Kevin Pethe, Assistant Professor Sanjay Chotirmall and Nanyang Assistant Professor Xia Yun took the Dean's Awards for Research. Assistant Professor Tom Carney, Dr Ranganath Vallabhajosyula and Ms Ramani Saravanan received the Dean's Awards for Education.
For the Administration category, Mr Tan Hee Kiang won the Values in Action award and Ms Goh Pei Ling received the Enabler award. The award for Innovation was picked up by a team comprising Ms Siti Rohanah Koid, Ms Andrea Thum, Ms Amanda Lee and Ms Siti Nur Iman from the Communications and Outreach department; Ms Suzanne Lim, Ms Poh Sook Sun, Ms Bernadette Chia and Ms Jacquelynn Hor from the Development, Planning & Strategic Relations department.
Next came the presentation of the Long Service Awards, with Dr Andrew Ang, Mr Kelvin Foo, Mr Darren Lim, Mr Alan Loe, Ms Poh Sook Sun, Ms Janet Teo and Mr Ken Wong receiving awards for 10 years' service, and Mr Lim Kong Meng receiving an award for 20 years at LKCMedicine.
We then heard from each of our award recipients in a touching video montage in which they spoke warm words, thanking their colleagues, department and the School for their recognition, and their commitment to continuing the good work.
Finally, Associate Professor of Human and Microbial Genetics Eric Yap capped off the afternoon with a medley of Christmas holiday favourites on violin, bringing a little festive cheer to what was a wonderful occasion.
Congratulations to all our award winners and a heartfelt 'thank you' to all staff and faculty. To the School's support staff – LKCMedicine would not be what it is without you!
2020 has been an extremely challenging year, but in so many ways, it has highlighted the extraordinary strength and talent among the OneLKC community.
Per aspera ad astra!
(popular latin phase meaning 'through adversity to the stars')