Let Greatness Take Root: In Loving Memory of Prof Lee Sing Kong

Let Greatness Take Root: In Loving Memory of Prof Lee Sing Kong

Wednesday, 23 May 2018

tree planting

From Left to Right: Mrs Lee Sing Kong (Ms Lek Yian Ping Cherie), Professor Alan Chan, Vice President (Alumni and Advancement), Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, Ms Tan Aik Na, Vice President (Administration), Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, Ms Chan Lai Fung, Permanent Secretary for Education, Ministry of Education, Singapore, Professor Tan Oon Seng, Director, NIE, Mr Chuah Hock Seong, Group Director, National Parks Board, Singapore


On 23 May 2018, the National Institute of Education, Singapore (NIE) partnered with the National Parks Board, Singapore (NParks) to plant a Tembusu tree to remember Professor Lee Sing Kong’s life and to celebrate his legacy. A gift from NParks, the tree was planted on the NIE campus in commemoration of Professor Lee’s first year of passing.

Professor Lee was a widely respected academic, ground-breaking horticulturist and passionate educator. He had the natural ability to nurture and grow both plants and teachers. At NIE, he was not only able to tap into innovation and creativity to plant lettuces via aeroponics in our land-scare Singapore, but was also able to inspire people. It was his special gift to connect with people, helping them to want to stretch and push boundaries, which made him the great visionary that lives on in our hearts and minds.

Professor Lee served as NIE’s Director from 2006 to 2014 and has greatly impacted Teacher Education in Singapore and internationally. He led in the articulation of the 3:3:3 Roadmap which outlined NIE's strategic directions from 2007 to 2012 and guided NIE in achieving its vision of becoming “An Institute of Distinction”.

A true educator and scientist at heart, Professor Lee saw a quality teaching force as the key that could improve student learning outcomes. His ground-breaking research and luminary service in Education has led to a proud list of awards and honorary doctorate degrees.

After stepping down from Directorship in 2014, Professor Lee was appointed Vice President for Education Strategies, the Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore, a role he relinquished in 2016.

He was then concurrently appointed Vice President of Alumni and Advancement, NTU and the Director of the Centre for Research and Development in Learning (CRADLE@NTU). As CRADLE Director, he played an important role in driving research on tertiary education learning at NTU. He also initiated fresh efforts, worked tirelessly to increase the University’s outreach to alumni and strengthened alumni participation, as well as engaged with donors.

Beyond his long list of careers and achievements, he is a visionary leader, a ground-breaking researcher, a selfless mentor and a great teacher. Humbly likening himself to a gardener, he had shared once, “education and farming share a very strong parallel – they involve the process of nurturing and the goals are to help unleash the potential of either a plant or a child”.

In conjunction with this tree planting ceremony, NIE and NParks are co-raising funds for the The Lee Sing Kong Endowment Fund. You can contribute to Professor Lee’s legacy by pledging trees to be planted across Singapore and giving to The Lee Sing Kong Endowment Fund.

The Fund supports the establishment of the Lee Sing Kong Professorship in Early Childhood at NIE, as well as the Lee Sing Kong Bursaries to help needy students to pursue a quality education at NTU.

This species of the Tembusu tree was specially selected by Mrs Lee Sing Kong. The Tembusu tree is one of Singapore’s most distinctive trees, known for its fragrance and for its extremely resilient and hard wood, it is also found on our $5 note.

Likewise, Professor Lee’s early career as NParks’ Deputy Commissioner to plant trees for a green Singapore and his great vision and passion in growing teachers who will help secure Singapore’s resilient future will be his lasting legacy.

For more information and to donate, please visit the links below. We look forward to your generous support.

  • To pledge trees and donate: Link
  • To simply donate only: Link