Founding board members Mr Philip Ng and Mr Sam Goi received honorary doctorate degrees from SUTD

31 Oct 2021

Lianhe Zaobao, 31 Oct 2021, 创始董事会成员 黄志达魏成辉获颁新科大名誉博士学位​ (translation)
For their efforts in helping to establish and develop Singapore’s fourth public university, the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) awarded honorary doctorate degrees to two of its founding board members, chief executive officer of Far East Organization, Mr Philip Ng, and executive chairman of Tee Yih Jia Group, Mr Sam Goi. This is also the highest honour awarded by the school for the first time.
The two received the certificates from SUTD Chancellor, Dr Tony Tan, at the Class of 2020 graduation ceremony held in SUTD’s auditorium yesterday morning.
In his speech, SUTD president Professor Chong Tow Chong emphasised his gratitude to the two of them for their great contributions since the university’s establishment. “SUTD would not be what it is today if not because of Philip and Sam’s foresight and stewardship in providing valuable guidance and advice as we built the new university from scratch.”
Mr Philip Ng served as the first chairman of the Steering Committee set up for the establishment of the university, leading in the formation of the school’s development strategy and framework, finalising the three-way education collaboration between SUTD, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Zhejiang University, and identifying and hiring the academic and administrative leadership of the university. Far East Organization and Mr Ng's other enterprises are also the largest donors to SUTD.
Mr Ng said in his speech that he was honoured to “work with SUTD to nurture technically grounded leaders to serve societal needs through technology and design.”
He hoped the SUTD community would be more active in creating a sustainable local built environment in the future, applying technological innovation to solve complex problems, such as rethinking how reducing energy consumption and carbon footprint when designing buildings could also bring about more pollution in other areas. “Today, architects, consultants, developers and contractors are not just required to build more sustainably, but they also need to be stewards of the environment and the planet itself.”
“Popiah King” Mr Sam Goi: I never imagined I would receive an honorary doctorate degree 
The other recipient, Mr Sam Goi, executive chairman of Tee Yih Jia Group, a local spring roll wrapper and frozen food manufacturer, also known as the “Popiah King”, is currently SUTD’s patron for advancement. Since 2010, as the chairman of the fundraising committee, he has actively used his vast network to help raise funds for SUTD. Within nine years, he has help SUTD raised $1.2 billion in its endowment fund, including donations, government matching grants and seed funds. Majority of the funds are used to provide scholarships and bursaries for students.
When Mr Goi expressed his gratitude in Mandarin, he shared that he did not like to study and joined his father's company after graduating from secondary school. He started his own business eight months later. “Never did I dare to imagine that one day I would get an honorary doctorate.” He followed his family to the south from Fuqing, Fujian, China at the age of six. “If I had not come to Singapore back then, I would not be who I am today. I might be a farmer.”
In an interview with Lianhe Zaobao, he also spoke about choosing to give back to society through education, “because education is so important to Singapore”. Singapore has no natural resources, and even water is imported from Malaysia. We only have human resources, that created Singapore as it is today... I do what I should do, not for a return. There must be great love to have self-love.
Regret that younger son is no longer by his side to witness this 
Mr Goi deliberately took his wife and children for a group photo at the Ke Zhong Pavilion named after his father in the school yesterday morning. He said with tears in his eyes that this is the first time he has been awarded an honorary doctorate. He felt regretful that his youngest son, Ben Goi, was not present during this important moment. Ben Goi passed on from a cerebral hemorrhage two years ago at the age of 43.
His message to SUTD and its students: “Technology is the cornerstone of our country’s development and is very important for the country's future. I believe SUTD will cultivate more outstanding talents who will make exceptional contributions to the development of technological innovations in Singapore and the world.”