The Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) marked the start of its first academic year on Monday with an inauguration ceremony. The ceremony was officiated by Tony Tan Keng Yam '64, who is both the president of Singapore and SUTD’s chancellor, before a gathering of SUTD’s pioneer batch of undergraduate students, MIT dignitaries and MIT and SUTD faculty.
Dignitaries — including Tan, SUTD Board of Trustees Chairman Philip Ng, MIT Associate Provost Philip Khoury, Zhejiang University Vice President Wu Ping, and SUTD President and MIT Institute Professor Thomas Magnanti — were robed in academic regalia and led the university’s first academic processional. Speeches were delivered by Tan, Magnanti, Khoury and Zhejiang University President Yang Wei, who spoke via video broadcast. Sharlene Wong, president of the SUTD Student Council, led the recitation of the SUTD Student Honor Code, written by the students.
Incorporated in July 2009 as Singapore’s fourth publicly funded university, SUTD is a research-intensive institution that will focus on technology-intensive design education and research. Established in collaboration with MIT, SUTD is expected to serve as a new engine of knowledge creation and talent attraction that will help boost Singapore’s economy.
Speaking at the ceremony, Tan noted: “SUTD provides a curriculum and pedagogy that is both multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary, to develop its students with both the breadth and depth of knowledge to handle cross-cutting issues in this globalized environment.”
Magnanti said: “We welcome collaborations with industry and domain-specific public agencies as they provide a platform to ensure that our research is relevant and practical. Such collaborations, like with [Singapore’s] Ministry of Defense, allow us to bring meaningful applications into our classrooms, as the research projects present opportunities for our students to gain exposure to work on real-life challenges.”
Khoury congratulated everyone who had worked to get SUTD up and running. He noted that “so much visionary thinking and so much hard work have gotten you to this point in time, and I am confident that SUTD’s future will be one filled with success and achievement that will serve Singapore, its region, indeed the world for generations to come.”
Khoury also cited “MIT’s great respect for Singapore’s commitment to building a culture of innovation here, a culture that MIT recognizes is getting stronger and stronger. … MIT shares with SUTD the vision that … global challenges can best be met by creating ‘design solutions’ that span the learning cultures of engineering and architecture and beyond.”
Classes begin May 8 for SUTD’s 340 students, 47 percent of whom are women and 25 percent of whom are from other countries. SUTD will grant degrees in four interdisciplinary areas: Engineering Product Design, Information Systems Technology and Design, Engineering Systems and Design, and Architecture and Sustainable Design.