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Singapore Management University is established 29th Jul 2000

The  Singapore  Management  University (SMU)  is  Singapore’s  first  government-funded  but privately  managed university.[1] Established to become the main provider of undergraduate finance and business education in Singapore,[2] SMU chairman Ho Kwon Ping’s aspiration for the university was to “develop Singapore’s vision of a world-class university in management education”.[3] Then Deputy Prime Minister Tony Tan, who also oversaw university education, was supportive of business degree programmes offered by local universities having different curricula and emphases so as to improve the quality of education.[4]

SMU adopted an American-style approach in teaching, and it was the first university in Singapore to adopt the Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT) currently being used by American universities as a basis for admission.[5] A Wharton-SMU Research Centre was set up in June 1999 and Janice Bellace, who was concurrently the deputy dean of the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, was appointed as the centre’s first director.[6] Bellace was also appointed as SMU’s first president, and in the process became the first foreigner to head a local university.[7] The centre would engage in research collaboration between SMU and the Wharton School on topics relevant to Singapore and Asia such as technopreneurship, knowledge transfer within organisations, competition in emerging technology-based industries and electronic commerce marketing strategies.[8]

SMU held its inaugural opening convocation on 29 July 2000,[9] and welcomed the first batch of students at its temporary campus on Evans Road.[10] The university moved to its permanent campus at the Bras Basah area on 31 July 2005,[11] which was officially opened by current  Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on  20 January the following year.[12]  SMU’s S$450-million campus was designed  as a city campus  that would be integrated into  the civic district among parks, cafes, shops,  galleries and  museums in a  bid  to provide students with  a unique learning experience.[13]

1. SMU holds farewell lunch for chancellor. (2002, August 16). The Straits Times, p. 13. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
2. Nirmala, M. (1998, January 20). First intake of 1,400 students in the year 2000. The Straits Times, p. 32. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
3. Davie, S. (1998, December 6). New campus at Bras Basah. The Straits Times, p. 2. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
4. Nirmala, M. (1999, July 3). Can SMU deliver? The Straits Times, p. 52. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
5. Nirmala, M. (2001, March 27). American model for S'pore universities? The Straits Times, p. 4. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
6. Chew, M. (1999, June 11). Wharton-SMU Research Centre set up. The Business Times, p. 3. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
7. Nirmala, M. (1999, October 29). The virtual expatriate. The Straits Times, p. 56. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
8. Wharton-SMU Research Centre Home Page. Retrieved January 21, 2014, from SMU website:  http://centres.smu.edu.sg/wsrc/
9. Lee, J. (2000, July 30). SMU opens to big fanfare. The Straits Times, p. 37. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
10. Andrianie, S. (2000, January 13). Latest in IT for first students at SMU. The Straits Times, p. 39.
11. Poon, A. (2005, August 1). SMU bids farewell to Bukit Timah. The Straits Times, p. 4. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
12. Oh, B. P. (2006, January 21). Singapore to boost education hub status. The Business Times, p. 9. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
13. The Straits Times, 6 Dec 1998, p. 2; Chua, M. H., & Davie, S. (2006, January 21). More choices for students in next 5 years. The Straits Times, p. 3. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.


The information in this article is valid as at 2014 and correct as far as we are able to ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history of the subject. Please contact the Library for further reading materials on the topic.

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