GEORGE TOWN, Sept 23 -- Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad became the first person to receive the University Sains Malaysia (USM) Special Chancellor Sustainability Award at the university’s Commemorative Convocation ceremony in conjunction with its 50th anniversary here today.
The USM Chancellor, who is also the Raja of Perlis, Tuanku Syed Sirajuddin Putra Jamalullail, consented to conferring the award during the ceremony.
However, Dr Mahathir could not attend the convocation ceremony today.
The Prime Minister, in his speech, through video, which was screened at the convocation ceremony, thanked USM at being bestowed the highest award.
Dr Mahathir said he was humbled and thankful at the consent of the Raja of Perlis to confer the Special Chancellor Sustainability Award which was introduced for the first time and accepted the award with full responsibility and would uphold its honour filled with realisation and humility.
‘’Indeed, receiving the Special Chancellor Sustainability Award is very meaningful to me personally especially when it is a recognition by a university which has turned 50. Prior to this, USM had granted me a Honorary Doctorate in Science.
‘’I thank USM for considering that I am qualified to receive such prestigious and high valued awards,’’ he said.
In the meantime, Dr Mahathir also congratulated USM over its 50th anniversary celebration and hoped the university could reevaluate its successes and shortcomings during the period and seek a new strategy to determine its future direction.
‘’The direction should be capable of maintaining and developing the university as a driving force towards a change in mind set and education for sustainability. The direction should not remain merely as an academic thinking concept and philosophy,’’ he said.
He said that the role of a university was not merely by being creative and innovative in seeking new knowledge, but on the other hand, had the capability to move alongside with society in understanding and utilising science, engineering and technology for the benefit of humanity.
According to Dr Mahathir, firm co-operation between academicians and those working outside the academic circle should be boosted to understand the true demand of the nation in the current of modernisation and the industrial revolution era of 4.0.
He also reminded students to exit their comfort zone and together change the existing knowledge culture to mound a more mature and critical thinking.
During the ceremony, Tuanku Syed Sirajuddin also consented to confer the Honorary Doctorate of Sports Science to national sport figure Datuk Nicol Ann David, Honorary Doctorate of Science to the winner of the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2014 Professor Shuji Nakamura and the Honorary Master’s Degree Award in Public Administration to USM’s first female registrar Datuk Siti Mazenah Saad.
This year, 6,338 graduands would received their degrees including Honorary Degrees (three), Emiratus Professor (four), Doctorates in Philosophy (PhD) (508), Master’s Degree (1,564), Bachelor’s Degree (4,266) and Nursing Diploma (45).
The USM convocation ceremony begins today until Sept 29.