Homecoming Dinner 2018: Gryphon Award Citation for Professor Lim Pin by Mr S Magendiran

Citation honouring Professor Lim Pin on receiving the fourth Gryphon Award at the RI Homecoming Dinner / 95th ORA anniversary dinner on 21 July 2018

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is indeed a great honour and privilege for me to read the citation for the fourth recipient of the Gryphon Award. He is Professor Lim Pin -– NUS University Professor and Rafflesian Extraordinaire.

Prof Lim disthinguished himself as a man for all seasons with consequential impact when called upon to answer many national calls in life. Though he began his career as a medical doctor, he contributed significantly across diverse fields, including education, economics, ethics, and scientific research and development.

Mr S Magendiran reading his Grpyon
Mr S Magendiran reading his Grpyon Award Citation for Professor Lim Pin. 

Early Life

Born in 1936, Prof Lim attended Raffles Institution from 1951 to 1956.  During his 6 years at RI, Prof Lim excelled in his studies and maintained a brilliant academic record. He was also a moving force in many of the extra-curricular activities as a student leader. He was Scouts Patrol Leader, Editor of the School Magazine and eventually Head Prefect.

It is not surprising that Prof Lim made an impact on many then.

Dr Oliver Seet remembered the then Head Prefect Lim Pin “as being always calm and amiable with a perpetual smile on his face.” That trademark smile remains today.

Prof Tommy Koh, Ambassador-at-Large and recipient of the 3rd Gryphon Award looked up to Prof Lim when they were both students at RI. Prof Koh remarked that Prof Lim has been one of his life-long heroes and he continues to call him “Head Prefect” whenever he meets him.

Mr V Ambiavagar, former Principal, had observed that of all the students he taught in RI, Professors Lim Pin and Tommy Koh were the humblest despite their scholarly ability.

After his A-levels, Prof Lim was awarded the Queen’s Scholarship - the forerunner of the President’s Scholarship - to study medicine at the University of Cambridge, specialising in internal medicine and endocrinology.  He received his master’s degree in 1964, and was admitted as a member of the Royal College of Physicians in London in 1965 and briefly worked at the Diabetic Department at King’s College Hospital as its Registrar.  He was awarded MD (doctorate in medicine by research) in 1969 by Cambridge University.

Fortunately, the call to serve the nation brought Prof Lim back to the shores of Singapore. This was the beginning of an illustrious career totally devoted in service of our country.

Contributions and Legacy

Prof Lim distinguished himself quickly at the National University of Singapore. He became the youngest ever Vice-Chancellor of NUS at the age of 45. He laid the foundation for NUS to develop into a leading university in the world.  At the end of his almost twenty-year tenure as Vice Chancellor, Prof Lim was accorded the highest academic title of NUS University Professor in recognition of his work and achievements.  In 2003, he received the NUS Outstanding Service Award. 

In his own professional specialization of Internal Medicine, Prof Lim obtained numerous fellowships from the Royal Colleges of Physicians in London, Edinburgh and Australasia, as well as the American College of Physicians.  He has also been made Honorary Fellow of many colleges in UK and Australasia in specialties other than Internal Medicine. 

Beyond his professional specialization, Prof Lim’s versatility and leadership qualities had led him to be called upon to lead many bodies. He was Chairman of the National Wages Council, the Bio-ethics Advisory Committee, and the Joint International Collaborative Cluster of Research Centres between NUS and several global universities and research institutes.

In recognition of his significant contributions to the nation, Prof Lim was honoured with numerous awards, including the Meritorious Service Medal in 1990 and the Republic of Singapore Distinguished Service Order in 2000.  For his contribution to the Singapore labour movement, National Trades Union Congress conferred him the Friend of Labour Award in 1995.

Clarion Call of Alma Mater

Despite his busy schedule then, Prof Lim had the interests of Raffles Institution close to his heart. When his alma mater sounded the clarion call to serve, Prof Lim stepped forward to be the Chairman of the Board of Governors and spearheaded the school’s move to become independent in 1990.  He was a pillar of strength in RI’s search for a new identity as an independent school.  Prof Lim brought to bear his wealth of experience and energy during this critical phase of RI’s history.  He established a working relationship between the Board of Governors and the Headmaster which Mr Eugene Wijeysingha described as perfect and one that motivated him to go the extra mile.

As a young teacher tasked to assist the Headmaster with Board of Governors’ matters during the fledgling years of independent RI, I too had the privilege of learning and observing Prof Lim. He was a source of tremendous encouragement. His wisdom showed through his humility and the respect he accorded to all of us regardless of our position and status. He had a way of making us feel at ease, with the trademark perpetual smile.

As a young teacher tasked to assist the Headmaster with Board of Governors’ matters during the fledgling years of independent RI, I too had the privilege of learning and observing Prof Lim,' shared.Mr S Magendiran 


Prof Lim defies our expectations of age. He is still making a mark in society. Currently, Prof Lim is Professor of Medicine at NUS and Senior Consultant Endocrinologist at the National University Hospital. Prof Lim continues to serve in Government committees and corporate Directorships.  He is also Chairman of the Board of Trustees - Ang Mo Kio Community Hospital, Special Needs Trust Company, NUH Fund and Jurong Health Fund, and is Deputy Chairman of the Lee Kuan Yew Water Prize Council.  He also chairs the Advisory Council of Temasek Foundation Innovates and is Director of Raffles Medical Group.  

Raffles Institution is indeed proud to honour Prof Lim, one of its distinguished sons, with the Gryphon Award tonight.

May I now invite Prof Lim on stage to receive the Gryphon Award. Presenting the award on behalf of RI are the Chairman of the Board of Governors, Mr Choo Chiau Beng and Principal, Mr Frederick Yeo.

S Magendiran

Senior Deputy Principal (Student Development)

Raffles Institution

Tagged Topics

#Alumni #school happenings

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