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The family of the late Dr Yong Pung How made a generous gift of $20m to the SMU Yong Pung How School of Law.
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Supporting students, nurturing promising academics, and furthering research in Law

Published on 1 February 2023

A generous $20 million gift from the family of the late Dr Yong Pung How sets to establish a financial aid programme, fellowship programme and a research fund to further the legal discipline at SMU’s Yong Pung How School of Law.

The study of law gives individuals the necessary knowledge and professional abilities needed to pursue a career in this competitive field. But just as importantly, it provides an understanding of morality and responsibility within this ever-shifting marketplace. As an educational institution, providing the right support is critical, as it offers aspiring professionals with access to a legal education, and opens doors to new and exciting possibilities.

In January 2023, S$20 million was generously donated to the Yong Pung How School of Law (YPHSL) by Mrs Yong Wei Woo, in Dr Yong Pung How’s honour. This landmark gift forms part of the 15th anniversary celebrations of SMU’s law school and will be used to establish a financial aid programme, a fellowship programme, and a research fund.

“We are delighted to be able to make this gift to continue his good deeds in nurturing young law undergraduates, developing quality faculty and supporting the acceleration of legal research in growing areas of critical importance,” says Mrs Yong, wife of the late Dr Yong.

The late Dr Yong was held in extremely high regard for his remarkable legacy in the legal field. As Chief Justice of Singapore, he became renowned for his ground-breaking reforms that saw the nation's judicial system transformed into a benchmark of efficiency. But he did not limit himself to this success alone. He extended himself further to SMU, exhibiting unwavering commitment as the institution's third Chancellor and playing an instrumental role in the development of SMU’s law school from the very outset as the Founding Chairman of its Advisory Board.

This recent gift bestowed on the law school allows SMU to further steward Dr Yong’s legacy. SMU President, Professor Lily Kong, said, “We are humbled by (Mrs Yong’s) trust, which is a testament to her belief in SMU. Together, we will strive to espouse Dr Yong’s vision and make meaningful impact – through our students, our faculty, our research, and towards legal development for Singapore’s future.”

The announcement of the gift also coincides with the third anniversary of the passing of Dr Yong. It follows the establishment of the Yong Pung How Professorship of Law in 2007, the Yong Pung How Bursary in Law in 2013 and the Yong Pung How Bursary in 2016. S$10 million will be channelled towards the Yong Pung How Law Access Award, which will provide full tuition support to eight first-year law undergraduates in financial need every year and in perpetuity. Another S$5 million will be channelled towards the Yong Pung How Fellowship Programme to continually attract and retain talented faculty at YPHSL. Finally, S$5 million will be channelled towards the Yong Pung How Research Impact Fund to accelerate the research endeavours and thought leadership of YPHSL.

“This gift is of exceptional significance to us because Dr Yong was not only an outstanding lawyer and a distinguished judge but also a pioneer and a nation builder who made extraordinary contributions to Singapore,” says Professor Lee Pey Woan, Dean of YPHSL.

‘My colleagues and I are immensely grateful for, and encouraged by, this opportunity to honour Dr Yong’s legacy through our educational and research endeavours. His single-minded commitment to justice and the nation’s wellbeing will be our constant inspiration.”

Related Topics:  Research  Undergraduate Education