In appreciation of the learning, networking and career opportunities SMU has provided through the SMU Warriors Scholarship (SWS), a group of SWS alumni and students have initiated the SMU Warriors Fund that will support bond-free bursaries – called the SMU Warriors Bursary - for undergraduate students at SMU.


The SMU Warriors Bursary seeks to assist students from financially-challenged background who have performed well during National Service, so that they do not miss out on the opportunity of an SMU education because of financial need.


The idea of setting up the SMU Warriors Fund was spearheaded by Brigadier-General (BG) Chua Boon Keat, Commandant of SAFTI Military Institute and Colonel (RET) Kong Kam Yean, Vice President of International Business, ST Engineering Electronics. The former is a current student in SMU’s EMBA programme, while the latter had graduated from SMU’s EMBA programme in 2016.


Within a month of mooting the idea, the SWS alumni and students have raised $200,000 through one time donation or multi-year pledges which will provide for two SMU Warriors Bursaries for needy undergraduates at SMU in perpetuity.


Brigadier-General (BG) Chua Boon Keat presented the cheque of $200,000 to SMU President Professor Arnoud De Meyer at an event held at SMU on 1 November 2018. Organised by the Ministry of Defence’s Career Transition Resource Centre, SMU Office of Postgraduate Professional Programmes and SMU Office of Advancement, the event was held in appreciation of Prof De Meyer’s strong support for the SMU Warriors Scholarship programme since its inception in 2014.


Caption: Chief of Defence Force Lieutenant-General Melvyn Ong presented a token of appreciation to SMU President Professor Arnoud De Meyer in appreciation of his strong support for the SMU Warriors Scholarship programme.


Lieutenant-General Melvyn Ong, Chief of Defence Force, who graced the event as the Guest-of-Honour, thanked SMU President Arnoud De Meyer for his support of the career transition and development of transiting SAF servicemen. Said Lieutenant-General Ong, “The SWS is the first of its kind in Singapore – a scholarship awarded to SAF servicemen in recognition of their experience from years of contribution to Singapore’s Defence. Many of our servicemen have benefitted from the practical insights, resources and networks that the SWS offers, and continue to contribute to society in various domains, helming leadership positions in both the private and public sectors, in areas such as education, defence, finance, business and social work.”


In his remarks, SMU President Professor Arnoud De Meyer said, "SMU is appreciative of this initiative by the SMU Warriors Scholarship recipients to establish the SMU Warriors Fund and SMU Warriors Bursary. Their efforts exemplify SMU’s values of creating positive impact and giving back to society.


“The SMU Warriors Bursary will contribute to SMU’s overall efforts to ensure that no deserving student misses out on the opportunity of an SMU education because of financial need. This meaningful support of undergraduates with financial need will take them on an educational journey that is holistic, enriching, and meaningful, enabling them to achieve their education and career goals. I would like to encourage our growing pool of alumni to contribute in whichever way they can to the continued growth and development of the university."


Explaining the motivation behind the SMU Warriors Fund, BG Chua shared, “The SAF Warriors Scholars want to pay it forward. We are grateful that SMU has recognised the sacrifice and commitment of retiring SAF servicemen through their offer of bond-free scholarship to take up masters programmes at the university. SMU wanted to help our servicemen better prepare for their transition to the next career. Through the scholarship, our retiring SAF officers received a first-class education and many transited successfully into a new career.


Added Colonel (RET) Kong, “We are retiring or retired SAF regulars who are recipients of SMU Warrior Scholarship that provided education to help us make a career switch out of a long military career. SMU valued the years of public service of military servicemen, understood the need for us to unlearn and relearn to take on jobs in a new industry. To give back to SMU, who has offered a generous helping hand, we felt the best way to show our appreciation is to carry on this “pay-it-forward” gesture to benefit other needy students in SMU. In addition to setting up the bursary, we are also keen to provide other form of non-financial assistance such as mentoring and coaching the younger graduates and alumni in SMU.”


Since 2014, SMU has sponsored 47 bond-free scholarships under the SMU Warriors Scholarship to Singapore Armed Forces military serviceman who are retiring, in recognition of their contribution to Singapore and to help them in their transition to their second careers. The scholarship programme is also an effort in talent development for the nation.


To date, 35 scholars have graduated from SMU and are exceling in new professions with the experience and new knowledge that they have acquired.


Fundraising efforts for the SMU Warriors Fund are ongoing.


Featured photo: Brigadier-General Chua Boon Keat (centre, left), Commandant of SAFTI Military Institute, presented the cheque for SMU Warriors Fund to SMU President Professor Arnoud De Meyer (centre, right). Looking on were Chief of Defence Force Lieutenant-General Melvyn Ong (extreme left) and SMU Provost Professor Lily Kong (extreme right).

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