An LSE alumnus has marked his long association with the School by making a landmark gift towards a new student centre, currently under construction on the School’s campus. Professor Saw Swee Hock (pictured), who lives in Singapore, will celebrate the 50th anniversary of his graduation from LSE in 2013, the year when the centre will open.
Of the gift, LSE Director Professor Craig Calhoun said: “We are deeply grateful for Professor Saw’s generous donation to the School’s new student centre and are delighted to name the building in honour of his philanthropy. The Saw Swee Hock Student Centre will transform the extra-curricular lives of our students on the campus, greatly enhancing the student experience that we offer to our diverse and active student body.”
Professor Saw Swee Hock received his BA and MA from the University of Malaya in Singapore, before coming to LSE to study for his PhD in Statistics which he completed in 1963. There followed a long and prolific career at the University of Malaya in Kuala Lumpur, the University of Hong Kong and the National University of Singapore (NUS) from which he emerged as a recognised and respected expert on population and investment management. Today he is Professorial Fellow at the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies and President’s Honorary Professor of Statistics at NUS. He is also an Honorary Fellow of LSE and a member of the Board of Trustees of NUS.
Professor Saw said: “The high level of academic rigour and challenge I encountered during my time at LSE, and the PhD that I eventually received, played a huge role in my subsequent career development. In those days, I was made to feel part of a lively, diverse and inclusive student body, with the tradition of opposing political and social injustice. There were exciting anti-apartheid, anti-Vietnam war, CND and anti-colonial movements, marked by rousing speeches by academic and political luminaries. Students are LSE’s most valuable asset, and I am most privileged and proud to support an iconic building that can bring the student community closer together in ways not currently possible.”
The centre is the first new building at LSE for more than 40 years and will transform the facilities currently available for LSE’s vibrant student community. School services to be located there include LSE Careers, a multi faith prayer centre, and residences and accommodation services. Designed by Dublin-based architects, O’Donnell and Tuomey, the geometry of the building will deliver an unconventional arrangement of irregular floors, enabling adaptable use of space that can absorb the complexity and diversity of its function, and changing requirements for its use.
When the Saw Swee Hock Student Centre opens in 2013, it will also become the new home of the LSE Students’ Union (LSESU), whose offices, venues, spaces for indoor sports and activities, student media facilities, and advice and representation centre will all be relocated there. LSESU General Secretary, Alex Peters-Day, wholeheartedly welcomed the support received from Professor Saw towards the centre. She said: “LSESU would like to thank Professor Saw for his generous gift towards the student centre, a facility which is hugely anticipated by LSE’s student community. We welcome the naming of the centre in honour of Professor Saw and feel it is a fitting reflection of LSE’s internationally diverse student body.”
LSE Press Office, 020 7955 7060, Pressoffice@lse.ac.uk
Notes for editors:
1. Professor Saw Swee Hock
Professor Saw Swee Hock studied for his BA and MA at the University of Malaya in Singapore, before receiving his PhD in Statistics from LSE in 1963. He has had a long academic career and is one of the world's foremost experts on population and investment management. He was first a Senior Lecturer at the University of Malaya in Kuala Lumpur, then Founding Professor of Statistics at the University of Hong Kong and Professor of Statistics at the National University of Singapore (NUS). He is currently a Professorial Fellow at the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies and President’s Honorary Professor of Statistics at NUS. He is an Honorary Fellow of LSE, as well as Honorary Professor at Xiamen University and the University of Hong Kong. He was the first Chairman of the National Statistical Commission of Singapore. Professor Saw has served as a consultant or advisor to governments, private corporations and international organisations. He has been a member of more than 30 advisory panels and committees including the United Nations Committee on Salary Adjustments and the International Statistical Institute. He has also held visiting positions in, among others, Princeton, Stanford, Cambridge, the London School of Tropical Medicine and LSE. He has published some 47 books, 31 book chapters and over 100 articles on statistics, demography and investment management.
In addition to his distinguished academic career, Professor Saw is also recognised as one of Asia's leading philanthropists, particularly in the area of education. Over the years he has donated millions of Singapore dollars to universities in the US, the UK, China, Hong Kong and Singapore, including the generous gift of S$30 million to NUS in 2011 to establish the Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health designed to raise the standard of public health in Singapore and the surrounding region. His landmark gift to the Saw Swee Hock Student Centre is not his first donation to LSE; he started with donations to the New Library, the Singapore LSE Trust to provide scholarships to LSE Singapore students, and the LSE Asia Forums in Singapore and Beijing. In 2008, he donated £100,000 to the School’s New Academic Building, a project that attracted gifts from a number of LSE alumni and other supporters from more than 20 countries.
2. The Saw Swee Hock Student Centre
LSE is seeking to transform the student social experience by building the best students' centre in the UK. The site will become a student hub at the heart of LSE's campus and should add significant value to the student experience at LSE. The Saw Swee Hock Student Centre will be the first new building at LSE for more than 40 years.
The striking building design is by Sterling Irish architects O'Donnell & Tuomey, supported by an excellent design team which includes MEP consultants BDSP and structural engineers Horganlynch. The project team is being managed internally by the LSE’s Estates Division Capital Development team and externally by project managers Turner and Townsend, and quantity surveyors Northcroft. In July 2012, the building design won the 2012 New London Award (NLA) in the Education category. NLA is an architectural competition that recognises the very best in architecture, planning and development in the capital.
Due to open in late 2013, the Saw Swee Hock Student Centre will include: the LSE Students' Union reception, the advice and representation centre, sabbatical and general manager's offices, an internet café and large venue spaces, a pub, a media centre, a fitness centre including a gym and dance studio, a multi faith prayer centre, the LSE accommodation, sales and marketing office, and the LSE Careers Service.
The building gives every indication of being an exemplary piece of architecture that is innovative, sustainable and inspirational, and which will be at the forefront of 'Contemporary Westminster'. In November 2011, the building achieved the highest-possible ‘outstanding‘ status under the BREEAM Design Stage Assessment. The BREEAM rating system sets the standard for best practice in sustainable building design, construction and operation, and has become one of the most comprehensive and widely recognised measures of a building’s environmental performance. In achieving ‘outstanding’ status, LSE became the first university developing a city centre site to receive this award.
3. LSE and Singapore
The earliest recorded LSE student from Singapore graduated in 1901. Today LSE has almost 2,000 alumni who are recorded as resident in Singapore. In the 2011-12 academic year, there were 277 students from Singapore studying at the School, 212 at the undergraduate level and 65 as postgraduates. The LSE Alumni Association of Singapore is an active society that provides various platforms for LSE alumni and friends in Singapore to grow in knowledge, network and re-live fond memories of studying at the LSE.
As well as Professor Saw Swee Hock, other illustrious LSE alumni include: the late Dr Goh Keng Swee, former Deputy Prime Minister of Singapore and ‘economic architect’ of Singapore, through his earlier role of Finance Minister which he began in 1959; Tharman Shanmugaratnam, currently Deputy Prime Minister of Singapore and Minister for Finance; Professor You Poh Seng, Emeritus Professor at NUS who is known for his immense contributions to the discipline and study of economics; Lee Tzu Yang, Vice-President Asia-Pacific of Shell Global Solutions and Chairman of Shell Companies in Singapore; the late Dr Ong Chit Chung, who was MP for Jurong GRC; Irene Ng Pek Hoong, MP for Tampines GRC; Eddie Teo, Singapore High Commissioner to Australia and formerly Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Defence; Lim Ho Kee, Chairman and Non-Executive, Independent Director of SingPost and formerly Chairman of UBS East Asia; and Tan Suee Chieh, Chief Executive of NTUC Income Co-operative Ltd.