Halimah Yacob ’78 Conferred Honorary Doctor of Laws

Speaker of Parliament, Mdm Halimah Yacob ’78 was conferred the Honorary Doctor of Laws at this year’s main Commencement ceremony on 7 July at the University Cultural Centre. The honorary degree is in recognition of her outstanding contributions to Singapore and the community, and was presented to Mdm Halimah by NUS Chancellor and President of Singapore, Dr Tony Tan Keng Yam.

In Dean Simon Chesterman’s citation for Mdm Halimah, he shares how she led the way with a number of firsts, including being the first Malay woman to be elected into Parliament in 2001; her appointment as the first female Speaker of Parliament in 2013; and the first Singaporean to be on the governing body of the International Labour Organization. Among the awards she has received are Berita Harian’s “Achiever of the Year” in 2001, the AWARE Heroine Award in 2011, and her induction into the Singapore Women’s Hall of Fame in 2014. During her three decades of service with the labour movement, she has supported the rights of low-wage workers, encouraged flexible work arrangements and family care leave.

Addressing new graduates, Mdm Halimah urges them to view difficult circumstances as opportunities, to make a mark in their chosen careers, and to always give back to society. "Look for a cause, a passion and champion it. Also, remember that we are where we are today because we have the support of so many people along the way," Mdm Halimah encourages, further adding, "Let's have the humility to accept that not everything that happened to us was because of how smart or how good we are, but because we had a lot of help."