Mr Lee Boon Teow, Managing Director of Santarli Construction Pte Ltd (left), presenting a cheque for S$1 million to Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat (centre) and Prof Ling San, NTU Deputy President & Provost, for NTU’s new Professor Chen Charng Ning Endowment Fund. (Back row from left): Ms Lien Siaou-Sze, NTU Vice President (Advancement), Mr Inderjit Singh, Dr Lee Bee Wah and Mrs Chen Charng Ning, the widow of Professor Chen. (Credit: Ministry of Communications & Information)
The Class of 1985 at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore) has started an endowment fund in honour of the late Emeritus Professor Chen Charng Ning, NTU’s former Deputy President and founding Dean of the School of Civil and Structural Engineering who passed away in 2019.
With a target of S$2 million, the fund will support scholarships and bursaries for engineering students from underprivileged families.
The Class of 1985's initiative is led by former Members of Parliament, Er Dr Lee Bee Wah and Mr Inderjit Singh Dhaliwal, who is also a member of NTU’s Board of Trustees. The Class had decided to set up the new fund to commemorate its 35th year of graduation from NTU this year.
Santarli Construction Pte Ltd is the first company to give S$1 million funding to seed the endowment. The late Prof Chen was Chairman of Santarli Holdings Pte Ltd from 2001 to 2019.
Mr Heng Swee Keat, Deputy Prime Minister, Coordinating Minister for Economic Policies and Minister for Finance, and Mrs Chen Charng Ning, the widow of Professor Chen, joined the Class of 1985’s representatives, NTU management and guests at an event on 30 December 2020 at NTU’s campus to mark the endowment.
Professor Ling San, Deputy President and Provost of NTU Singapore, said, "This fundraising drive for the Prof Chen Charng Ning Endowment Fund initiated by the Class of 1985 is a moving tribute to commemorate Prof Chen’s life. Prof Chen is an exemplary figure who inspires the type of giving spirit the University hopes to instil in our students and alumni."
Er Dr Lee Bee Wah said, “Prof Chen was an inspiring educator and highly respected in the construction industry, not just in Singapore, but in the region and beyond. An excellent teacher, many of his students are doing very well in the industry, and we owe it to him for imparting his knowledge to us. Prof Chen's teachings and the memories he gave us have left a profound impact on our lives. We feel that the most meaningful way to honour him would be to set up the Prof Chen Charng Ning Endowment Fund, to award scholarships and bursaries to NTU undergraduates.”
A passionate educator and widely respected academic, the late Prof Chen was founding Dean of NTU’s School of Civil and Structural Engineering, one of then-Nanyang Technological Institute’s three pioneer engineering schools from 1981 to 1996.
Prof Chen taught and conducted research on coastal engineering, water resources engineering, urban hydrology & floodplain analysis, Low Impact Development (LID), stream corridor restoration, and integrated flood risk simulation and management modelling. As Dean, Prof Chen oversaw the School’s academic and administrative matters, including the development of the School’s curriculum, and hiring of faculty and staff.
Between 1991 and 2000, he held the position of Deputy President at NTU, where he was responsible for coordinating the offices of Development and Planning, Estate Management, Professional Attachment, the Innovation Centre and Centre for Continuing Education.
Over the years, Prof Chen served on the boards of various academic institutions and statutory boards in Singapore, including as the founding chairman of the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) from 1999 to 2001.
He received the Public Administration Medal (Silver) at the 1990 National Day Awards for his contributions to the nation.
In 2001, Prof Chen became the first faculty member of NTU Singapore to be conferred the title of Emeritus Professor, the University’s highest accolade, for his distinguished service in academia, education and public service.
Today, Prof Chen is regarded as one of NTU’s pioneers who laid the foundation for the University's strengths and success. Its School of Civil and Environmental Engineering is ranked 12th internationally in this year's QS World University Rankings by Subject.