A Legacy of Giving

A Legacy of Giving

NUS Medicine owes its inception to the vision, efforts and philanthropy of Singapore’s pioneers, led by local businessman and philanthropist Tan Jiak Kim in the early 1900s. In September 1904, Tan led a group of representatives of the Chinese and other non-European communities, and petitioned the Governor of the Straits Settlements, Sir John Anderson, to establish a medical school in Singapore. This philanthropic legacy is very much in the DNA of our School. It sets us apart and has shaped the raison d’etre of our School. We see it as our privilege and responsibility to honour our founding fathers’ efforts and to continue to serve and care for the people of Singapore.

Milestone Gifts to the School


Tan Jiak Kim

The founding of NUS Medicine began as a collective fundraising effort led by Tan Jiak Kim. Tan, who was the first president of the Straits Chinese British Association, managed to raise $87,077, of which the largest amount of $12,000 came from himself. On 3 July 1905, the medical school was founded,and was known as the Straits and Federated Malay States Government Medical School.

Tan Chay Yan

In 1911, a new building, Tan Teck Guan Building, was added to the medical school. It was built by Tan Chay Yan, a successful rubber plantation merchant and philanthropist, who donated $15,000 towards its construction. Tan Chay Yan named the building in memory of his late father Tan Teck Guan,who was the son of entrepreneur and philanthropist Tan Tock Seng. This building served as the medical school’s administrative block, containing the principal’s and clerk’s offices. It also housed the new medical library, a reading room, a lecture room and a pathology museum.

Lim Boon Keng

In 1912, the medical school received a donation of $120,000 from the King Edward VII Memorial Fund, started by Dr Lim Boon Keng. (This fund remains active today and continues to support initiatives at NUS Medicine.) On 18 November 1913, the name of the school was changed to the King Edward VII Medical School. In 1921, it was again changed to the King Edward VII College of Medicine to reflect its academic status. In 1949, with the foundation of the University of Malaya, the King Edward VII College of Medicine became the Faculty of Medicine of the university

On 1 January 1962, the University of Singapore was formed from the University of Malaya. It then merged with Nanyang University to form the National University of Singapore (NUS) on 8 August 1980. In 1985, the Faculty of Medicine became part of the NUS campus at Kent Ridge.

Yong Loo Lin Trust

In 2005, the National University of Singapore (NUS) School of Medicine marked its Centennial Year, which was underlined with a gift of S$100 million from the Yong Loo Lin Trust. In honour and recognition of this transformational act of philanthropy, the School was renamed the Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine. The gift enabled the School to realise its goal of strengthening its clinical research work and linking this more closely to the education and training of medical and nursing students. This was done through the development of two key areas, namely infrastructure and the NUS Medicine talent base. There was significant upgrading of physical infrastructure and facilities. An example is the Centre for Translational Medicine, the School’s flagship building featuring state-of-the-art research and teaching facilities, and which is home to some of the most competitive research programmes.

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