Million-dollar donations fund new programme, scholarships at SMU

SINGAPORE – A new programme supporting initiatives that champion social transformation in vulnerable communities will roll out in the upcoming academic year at Singapore Management University (SMU).

A total of $400,000 out of a $2.4 million sum donated by the estate of the late Ms Diana Koh, a veteran in the accounting and advisory field here, will support this new programme, said the university in a statement on Friday (April 16). Ms Koh died in May 2019, aged 56.

The Diana Koh Social Transformation Programme, administered by SMU’s Lien Centre for Social Innovation, will fund up to 12 local internships or six overseas internships per academic year for five years.

These internships have to be with relevant international and local organisations working with vulnerable communities.

A new Social Innovation Fund will also be set up for interns to implement innovative ideas to help vulnerable communities.

The programme will also fund projects focusing on creating knowledge and solutions related to social issues undertaken by SMU students or faculty in areas such as food security, climate change, access to healthcare and education.

The donation from Ms Koh’s estate will also fund two new scholarships – the Diana Koh Postgraduate Scholarship and Diana Koh International Scholarship.

The postgraduate scholarship will be awarded to Singaporean and Singapore permanent resident students in financial need who are pursuing postgraduate programmes in Master of Science in Accounting (Data and Analytics) and Master of Professional Accounting at SMU’s School of Accountancy.

Eleven postgraduate students will be supported under this scholarship over the next five years.

The international scholarship, which is bond-free, will be given yearly to a non-Singaporean female student in financial need from the Asean region. It will cover a full four-year undergraduate programme at SMU.

Ms Janet Lim, administrator of Ms Koh’s estate, said that during Ms Koh’s professional life, she travelled extensively in the region and would have been proud to provide opportunities to deserving students in Singapore and the region.

In a separate statement on Friday, SMU also announced two new awards available to serving and aspiring judges studying at the university, after the Jones Day Foundation donated US$1 million (S$1.3m) to the university.

The Jones Day Foundation is a non-profit organisation funded by Jones Day lawyers and staff.

The donation will fund the Jones Day LLM (Judicial Studies) Scholarships and the Jones Day Top Scholar Award.

The inaugural batch of the scholarship, valued at $40,000 per person, has been awarded to four international participants of the new Master of Laws in Judicial Studies programme jointly offered by SMU’s Yong Pung How School of Law and the Singapore Judicial College under the Supreme Court. It will be awarded yearly for up to 14 years.

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The programme started in August 2020 with a cohort of eight students.

The scholarship recipients are Mr Munkh-Erdene, 39, from Mongolia; Mr Tek Narayan Kunwar, 56, from Nepal; and Mr Rizkiansyah, 37, and Mr Ranto Sabungan, 45, both from Indonesia.

The Jones Day Top Scholar Award, valued at $10,000, will be awarded yearly to a graduating student who excels in the programme.

The programme is designed to provide advanced training for serving judges and judicial aspirants both in and outside of Singapore.

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