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Speech By Mr Gerard Ee At The Official Opening of SIM HQ Annex

Speech By Mr Gerard Ee at SIM HQ Governing Council At The Official Opening of SIM HQ Annex Building


President Tony Tan Keng Yam;
Professor Cham Tao Soon, Chairman & Chancellor,
SIM University;Mr Richard Eu, Chairman, SIM Pte Ltd Board of Directors;
Members of the SIM Governing Council, SIM University Board of Trustees, SIM Pte Ltd Board of Directors;
SIM Colleagues and Students;
Ladies and gentlemen;

  1. It is my pleasure to welcome you to this very special occasion – the official opening of SIM HQ Annex Building. First, let me on behalf of the SIM family, express my deepest appreciation to President Tan for joining us to witness yet another milestone in SIM’s 48-year history.

  1. In its early days of economic development, Singapore was in dire need of professional leadership and managerial knowhow. In 1964, Dr Richard Eu Keng Mun was invited by the Economic Development Board (EDB) to grow its management training unit. Against this backdrop, the Singapore Institute of Management (SIM) started operations with a social mission of advancing management excellence and developing manpower to support Singapore’s growth. Since then, SIM has grown by leaps and bounds. From a total of 39 graduates at our very first graduation in 1975, we now have a 115,000 strong graduates pool.

  1. A decade ago in 2001, our current HQ Building was officially opened by President Tan himself, then Singapore’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Defence. We are very privileged to have President Tan back with us for today’s official opening.

  1. Our campus growth is nothing but timely. As continuing education and training continues to play a pivotal role in Singapore’s economic growth, our student enrolment numbers are expected to grow significantly. In the case of SIM University, enrolment has crossed 12,000 and is expected to grow to 14,000 by 2020. As more school leavers aspire to obtain a degree, SIM Global Education is also expected to witness a bigger jump in its enrolment.

  1. To cater to our growing student population especially UniSIM’s, we embarked in 2009 on a $300 million Campus Development Master Plan to expand our Clementi HQ campus. Our vision was to grow, not just physically. To cater to today’s 21st century learners, we wanted to develop a learning centre that goes beyond the four walls of a classroom. Phase One of this Master Plan was completed last year with the construction of this six-storey SIM HQ Annex Building. Rendering an additional 29,000 sq m of space, the Annex offers a learning space with facilities like a student hub, seminar rooms, lecture theatres, F&B outlets and study areas.

  1. Last month, we kick-started Phase 2 of our Campus Development with a groundbreaking ceremony. With its completion in 2014, students and staff can look forward to making use of facilities like a multipurpose sports hall, a 500pax performing arts complex, specialised laboratories, seminar rooms, a hospitality training room, and a rooftop tennis court to name a few.

  1. But today’s occasion is more than just celebrating a brick and mortar structure. We are gathered here today to celebrate and honour the stories, memories, and spirit that have helped define the very life and character of SIM for the last 48 years and will continue to do so for the many years to come.

  1. For some of you in particular long-serving SIM staff, today’s opening may give you a reason to indulge in a little nostalgia about the early days of SIM – the humble beginning in the sixties in South Bridge Road, moving to Olivetti House and later, to Thong Teck Building in the seventies, to the Management House in the eighties and then finally, to SIM’s current HQ in 2001.

  1. Our students and alumni will also tell you why for them, SIM is more than just a classroom. They came here hoping to only earn a degree, they left having made bonds and memories that will last a lifetime.

  1. Everyone loves a good love story. Here’s one. SIM University (UniSIM) alumni Windy Teo and Alvin Tay both graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Marketing degree in 2007. Talking about their love story, Windy says (and I quote), “We met on the very first day of our first semester in the university. We were part of the same study group but we never spoke. It was only two years, a 7-hour game of mahjong and a 7am cab ride later that we talked. Before we knew it, we were spending all our time together, working on assignments, supposedly. For us, UniSIM is special because not only did it nurture our learning and careers, but also our relationship. Within 1 year and 9 months of dating, we walked down the aisle together and today, we have a 17-month old daughter whom we intend to bring to UniSIM for a walk one day.”

  1. SIM Global Education alumna Ally Vijay also has some fond memories to share. The three years that she spent in SIM was not all about books, but also about babies and business. Graduating from her Bachelor of Business (Management) programme in 2008 involved not just completing assignments and getting good grades, but also managing pregnancy, not once but twice. If that was not tough enough, she also opened her own spa business: Babies-Bellies. Recalling her juggling act, Ally says, “I was not able to sleep at night while I was pregnant, so while my family was asleep, I did my revision and studied for exams. It was tough and I had felt like giving up, but the constant encouragement not just of my family, but also my lecturers and classmates helped me achieve my dream of earning a degree and starting my very own business”.

  1. Such stories and fond recollections shared by students and passed down over the years are a reflection of that life-changing quality that is the very fabric of this institution.

  1. Walt Disney – the man who entertained the world through a mouse – famously said “All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them”. Such simple words from a great man! When we first started out in 1964, we dreamt of supporting Singapore’s growth by assuming a role in training and developing Singapore’s human capital. For the last 48 years, we have been tirelessly pursuing this dream. We would not have had the courage to follow our dream had it not been for those individuals management, staff, students, alumni, university and industry partners, architects and everyone else who walked with us and helped build SIM’s dream. I hope all of you here today can continue to give SIM your support.

  1. Thank you once again for joining us on this special occasion. I wish you a pleasant afternoon.

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