NUS Law Commencement 2017

NUS Law's Class of 2017 were conferred their degrees at this year's Commencement on 8 July at the University Cultural Centre.

This year marks the 60th Anniversary of the first intake of Law students at NUS and the faculty is particularly delighted to welcome several members from this first cohort (the Class of 1961) who were present to share the celebrations!

Presiding over the ceremony was former Chief Justice Chan Sek Keong '61, NUS Pro-Chancellor, and the ceremony's guest speaker was the Honourable V.K. Rajah SC '82, former Attorney-General and Judge of Appeal. The Class of 1961 were also represented by Ambassador-at-Large, Professor Tommy Koh '61, Emeritus Professor Koh Kheng Lian '61, Ms Tan Leng Fong '61, Ms Aileen Lim '61, Mr Amarjeet Singh SC '61, Mr Foo Yew Heng '61, and former Solicitor General Mr Koh Eng Tian '61.

In tribute to the pioneer class, Mr V.K. Rajah said, “The Class of 1961, Singapore's very first law graduates, are well represented here. Some of them initially faced some job discrimination. Englishmen who then ran the largest Law Firms thought that those who qualified in England had a superior hallmark. But the Class of 1961 quickly put that misconception right. I would like to recognise three of them that as a law student I looked up to. Chan Sek Keong, the finest legal mind Singapore has known. Tommy Koh, the finest diplomat Singapore has produced. TPB Menon, Singapore's finest Chancery lawyer until he left active practice. Two of them are here today to personally welcome you to the legal fraternity and demonstrably show that the legal profession is more than a business. We are a community bound together by shared values, ethical precepts and common aspirations.”

He also had this advice for the Class of 2017: "You must have a deep appreciation that the practice of law is ultimately about values and that it has a real impact on people's lives. As professionals, we subscribe to higher values that must always include fair play."

As over 300 of this year's graduates sit among the faculty's pioneer batch and renowned members of our alumni, it is a timely reminder of how the Class of 1961 has set the bar high for all the generations that follow, each breaking down barriers for the next generation of legal pioneers.

Reuben Ong, valedictorian for the Class of 2017, thanked professors and loved ones. Addressing his classmates, Reuben says, “I'm sure all of us have experienced moments in law school when we felt that the challenges and difficulties that we faced were almost overwhelming – the weeks were short but days were long, and every moment seemed to have an opportunity cost attached. In such circumstances, a kind word or caring gesture can go a long way, and I hope that we will continue as a batch to support one another in this way, even if we find ourselves seated on opposite ends of the table.”

We wish the Class of 2017 every success in their future!

Watch the highlights and interviews of the NUS Law Commencement 2017 here.