Mr Lee served as Singapore’s Prime Minister for 31 years from 1959 to 1990, later becoming Senior Minister and Minister Mentor. During this period, Imperial and Singapore forged a wide range of education and research ties and in 2002 the College recognised Mr Lee’s extraordinary achievements with the award of the Fellowship of Imperial College at a graduation ceremony on its annual Commemoration Day.
On the eve of the ceremony, Mr Lee took the chance to reminisce about his first visit to London as a student in 1946, sharing some of his characteristically forthright views on Britain and the world at a special dinner for over 600 Imperial alumni, staff, students and friends held in the Natural History Museum’s Dinosaur Hall.
In 1965, when Singapore achieved independence, 19 Singaporean students attended Imperial. Today the College educates 400 Singaporean students, has a 2,000-strong alumni community, and Imperial researchers publish hundreds of joint papers with partners in Singapore.
The College’s ever growing ties with Singapore culminated in the establishment of the Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine (LKCMedicine), a joint medical school between Imperial and Nanyang Technological University (NTU), which welcomed its first students in 2013.
In October 2014, Singapore’s President Dr Tony Tan visited Imperial as part of his first UK State Visit, going on to lay the foundation stones for new buildings at LKCMedicine in January 2015.