Press Releases

Sea of Learning
A new library for a new campus

24 February 2006


(Singapore and Hong Kong, 24 February 2006) Today marked the official opening of the Li Ka-shing Library at Singapore Management University.

Dr Li Ka-shing, Chairman of Li Ka-shing Foundation and Hutchison Whampoa Limited, a world-renowned entrepreneur and philanthropist, officiated at the opening of the library together with special guest Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew.

In 2002 together with Hutchison Whampoa Group, a gift of S$19.5 million, the largest contribution ever made to a Singapore university at the time, was granted to SMU by the Li Ka-shing Foundation, of which $15 million has been earmarked for the endowment of the library and the remaining portion dedicated towards the setting up of eight scholarships to support scholars from Hong Kong and Mainland China.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, Dr Li shared his long-standing feelings for Singapore, “Today feels a great deal like a fond and endearing walk down memory lane for me,” Dr Li was reminiscent of 1967 when his young family came to Singapore amidst the looming threat of turbulence and uncertainty.

In a speech titled “Between Form and Substance”, Dr Li shared his thoughts on the importance of “responsible citizenship”.

“The prime challenge as I see it today is how to nurture responsible citizenship, how to build in the hearts and minds of genuinely progressive young men and women the will as well as the means to carry our true hope for the future.”

Dr Li believes that it is important for the thinking, innovative and inspired men and women to feel a deeper sense of responsibility and public duty towards their world and beyond and care as much for individual dignity as for societys collective honour.

“The road to true liberalism is a long one,” he said. “We must not succumb to the belief that by merely providing the mechanism of participation we have achieved our goalKstructure might hold us together but substance is the essence of a bright and transcendent future.” He used the library as an example, “I believe that this new library structure would find its beautiful soul if it inspires us to seek who we are, who we all are and where we shall be.”

Mr Ho Kwon Ping, Chairman of SMU, added, “The library will support SMUs world-class teaching and research by serving as the gateway to a vast resource of information. It is also designed to bring students from across campus to congregate and share ideas, innovations and creativity.”

Poised to become the unified centre for information creation, discovery and management, the five-storey library is situated at the heart of SMUs new city campus and serves faculty and students from all four schools, as well as the educational community and public. The library is a resource for both print and electronic collections and boasts study and training areas, a reading room, a lounge and cafe and state-of-the-art facilities such as wireless network connections, virtual interactive terminals and multimedia laboratories. The Universitys Visitor Centre takes pride of place on the ground floor, and is the centre point of the 4.5-hectare campus.

The Li Ka-shing Library showcases unique architectural features, such as the louvered windows facing the Campus Green, which permit abundant natural light and also allow for dramatic views of the surrounding district – including such buildings as the National Museum of Singapore and the Singapore Art Museum; skylights and light wells that infuse the interior spaces with natural brightness; and exterior planter boxes filled with natural greenery that cascades down the librarys modern, curvilinear facades.

The foyer entrance of the library will feature a unique art piece titled “Sea of Learning”, which was the winning entry of the Public Art Competition jointly organized by the Li Ka-shing Foundation and SMU.

A total of 17 submissions was received from Singapore, Mainland China and Hong Kong, and the work of Ms Connie Chu and Mr David Biddlecombe of the Hong Kong Polytechnic University was selected for installation. The artwork is a metaphoric interpretation of the ancient Chinese saying, “The sea of learning is boundless, perseverance is the key.”

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