Published on 17 May 2022

NTU President conferred honorary degree by Iowa State University

NTU President Professor Subra Suresh has been awarded an Honorary Doctor of Science from his alma mater, Iowa State University, for his "many outstanding contributions as a distinguished engineer, scientist, entrepreneur and leader in higher education."

Professor Suresh received his honorary doctorate from Iowa State University President Wendy Wintersteen, during the University's commencement ceremony on 14 May. 

In its honorary degree citation, Iowa State University noted that as NTU president, Professor Suresh has launched the Smart Campus initiative to harness the power of digital technology and tech-enabled solutions to support better learning and living experiences, knowledge discovery, and sustainability. The initiative includes plans to build Asia’s largest wooden building.

As a scientist, Professor Suresh researches the properties of engineered and biological matters, and their connections to human diseases. He has authored 300 research articles and three books and filed 25 patent applications. He also holds the distinction of being the only university president elected to all three American National Academies – the National Academy of Medicine (2013), the National Academy of Science (2012), and the National Academy of Engineering (2002). He is also one of only a small number of Americans with membership in all three academies. 

Speaking at the ceremony, Professor Suresh called on Iowa State’s fresh graduates to, "Contemplate, cultivate, and elevate your global and historical perspective with patience and compassion." He urged them to focus on not only their individual lives, but also the collective community and the implications of their actions on the world around them. This requires broad-mindedness and convictions grounded in principles and values.

Commenting on his honorary degree, Professor Suresh said, “This is a great honour for me, especially as a former Iowa State University student who arrived in Iowa 45 years ago with less than US$100 in his pocket, a one-way air ticket purchased on a loan scholarship, and a small, half empty suitcase. I am humbled to join the ranks of other inspiring individuals who have made a mark in their respective fields. I also share this honour with my wonderful family, friends and colleagues who have supported me throughout this journey."

Professor Suresh joins other renowned honorary degree recipients from Iowa State University, including former US Secretary of State John Foster Dulles (after whom the Dulles Airport is named outside of the nation’s capital, Washington DC), and Nobel Laureates biochemist Edwin Krebs (1992 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine) and agricultural scientist Norman Borlaug (1970 Nobel Peace Prize).