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Speech by Minister of State Gan Siow Huang at SUTD's Commencement Ceremony

Published Date: 10 September 2022 06:00 PM

News Speeches

Dr Tony Tan, SUTD Chancellor

Professor Chong Tow Chong, SUTD President

Distinguished Guests

Faculty, Staff and the Class of 2022

Parents, Ladies and Gentlemen

I was just recalling my own commencement experience more than 25 years ago. My parents were there, and it was a very happy moment. So I can imagine how happy you must be and for the parents, you must be proud of how far your children have come. I would like to offer my heartiest congratulations to the Class of 2022. It is a pleasure for me to be here with you, to commemorate this special milestone in your journey.

Stepping Out of the Pandemic

2. As the Class of 2022, your university experience over the last few years is probably quite different from what you might have expected when you first embarked on your course. When you first entered SUTD, you would probably not have thought that you would experience university life against the backdrop of a global pandemic. As a community, we had had to adjust to new ways of living, learning and staying connected. As students, you adapted quickly, displaying courage and resilience – and today we celebrate your well-earned achievements. Congratulations!

3. But even as we learn to live with COVID-19 and emerge out of this crisis, many challenges remain. Global tensions and developments have wrought disruptions. The ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine has serious implications and repercussions for the international community, including Singapore. Countries are reconfiguring their patterns of production and supply chains. This has led to inflation and increased costs worldwide. Climate change continues to be a strategic threat for all countries.

4. The challenges and issues facing us are complex. But I am confident that SUTD has equipped you with the interdisciplinary skills, knowledge and mindset to navigate and seize opportunities in the future economy. Today, as you graduate from SUTD, I have three wishes for you. To put it simply, it's to do well, do good and go together.

Learning Is Life-Long

5. First, I hope that your journey of learning never ends. The world is in flux, and new technologies, business and production models are emerging rapidly. As SUTD graduates, you have been at the forefront of design innovation and multidisciplinary problem-solving. Your ability to integrate knowledge across various disciplines to tackle real-world challenges is evident from your capstone projects. One notable example is the unmanned delivery system, which automates delivery services end-to-end. Working with GovTech, the team, comprising Brendan, Keane,Kai Wen, Rachel, Rebecca, and Yi Xian, developed a mobile App and working prototype. Another example is the drone emergency landing system, designed by Zhi You, Ken Zho,Hng Yi, Marcus, Sumi Jee Chong, and Timothy. I heard thisis the first autonomous solution of its kind, and it is capable of steering malfunctioning drones to safety in densely populated cities. I am impressed that you have so effectively applied what you have learnt to address today's problems, even ahead of graduation.

6. I urge you to build on the strong foundational skills you have gained in SUTD. For example, you could take advantage of SUTD's ModularMaster certificate programmes, and the wide variety of short, modular industry-relevant courses offered by other Institutes of Higher Learning, to stay relevant and abreast of the latest industry trends. Having a mindset of continuous upskilling and reskilling will better position you to seize opportunities for growth when they arise.

Giving Back to Society and Community

7. Secondly, remember to give back to those around you. Remember that your achievements would not have been possible without the support of your family, friends and faculty and staff of SUTD who have journeyed with you.

8. In the same spirit, I encourage you to pay this forward, and consider how you can contribute to our community.

9. I am heartened to learn that some of you have already been using the skills and knowledge you have gained at SUTD to do so. Sharmayne, Levona, Rachel and Valent are graduating today with a Bachelor of Science in Architecture and Sustainable Design. They were part of a team who enhanced the community spirit at a void deck in Bukit Panjang by creating a pop-up library. The library aims to give underprivileged families more reading options by encouraging residents to recycle used books, and was fashioned from upcycled old MRT seats, railings and handles. This project exemplifies how innovative design towards a circular economy can contribute meaningfully to the community both now and in the longer run.

10. I am certain that many here will use the knowledge and skills that you have gained at SUTD to make a positive impact in the lives of others.

Stay Connected

11. Finally, though your commencement ceremony today may seem like an end to a chapter of your lives, I encourage you to stay connected to those you have crossed paths with at SUTD; whether they are your classmates, schoolmates, faculty or friends. You share a precious set of common memories of your time here together – whether of Fifth Row activities, or the many days and nights spent prototyping your designs. These shared experiences have forged a network of like-minded individuals who will serve as a source of support and learning for you, as go on to develop your careers, and become leaders in innovation, technology and design, and other fields you may pursue. So remember to do well, do good, and go together.


12. With that, I wish you all the very best in your future endeavours. This is your day – celebrate your achievements and look forward to the many exciting opportunities ahead of you! I would like to wish everyone here Happy Mid-Autumn Festival. Thank you.