Networking at alumni events after graduation from university is a great way to catch up with fellow uni mates that went to school together around the same time. This is also another avenue to network and know your seniors from different industries, it’s an eye-opener real life experience, you never know what opportunities might pop up. However, after graduating from University of Queensland (UQ) in 2002, returning to Singapore and attended my first UQ alumni networking event, I was kind of lost, not knowing what to do or whom to talk to. I still remembered there was a senior UQ alumnus figure that stepped forward, introduced himself and started chatting with me, breaking the ice and my initial jitters were gone. He was Mr Loh Hoon Sun, a distinguished UQ alumnus from Singapore. 

Mr Loh with UQ BEL Singapore Alumni Ambassador Council

From that time onwards till today, I had many opportunities to meet Mr Loh on various occasions, at UQ alumni networking events when I served in the University of Queensland Association Singapore (UQAAS) Ex-Co for two terms in the mid 2000s, and now as a UQ BEL Singapore Alumni Ambassador.

To commemorate Mr Loh’s contribution to the Singapore Council and the alumni community, we are embarking on a two-part special feature to share his life story, UQ journey, work experience, his philanthropy work and the UQ Singapore Alumni Fund that he founded. 

UQAAS Brunch Gathering at Artichoke – December 2010

In Part One, we will get to know Loh Hoon Sun – his UQ journey, work and corporate executive experiences and UQ alumni involvements over the decades. 

In the second part of this feature, we will learn more about Mr Loh’s philanthropy work for UQ Singapore alumni, the history and story behind UQ Singapore Alumni Fund and some words of wisdom from Mr Loh to the UQ Singapore alumni community.  

A brief introduction

Loh Hoon Sun was born in Fujian China, educated in Penang, Malaysia, studied in Brisbane, Australia at the University of Queensland (UQ) and is now residing in Singapore. He returned from Australia in early 1965, landed his first job in Singapore and became part of Singapore’s Pioneer Generation.

Mr Loh having lunch with Professor Andrew Griffiths

Currently working as a Senior Advisor with Phillip Securities Pte Ltd in Singapore since 1990, he was their Managing Director till 2017. His prior diverse work experiences spread across Australia, Malaysia and Singapore, in various industries that include auditing, investment, plantation, mining, timber, property, oil, banking and stockbroking. 

Prior to his current role at Phillip Securities, he was Executive Vice President and Head of Overseas Union Bank Treasury and Investment Banking and Chairman of OUB Investment Management Ltd.

Mr Loh with Mr KY Wong

Mr Loh graduated with a First Class Honours Degree in Economics (Accountancy) from UQ. Beyond all that, he has served in various organisations, held numerous professional memberships and received numerous awards for his achievements and work.

Now, let us get to know Mr Loh better from both a professional and personal perspective!

GH: Mr Loh, thank you for taking your precious time to share with us more about yourself, UQ experiences, and life experiences. What was studying in UQ like back in the 1960s? 

Mr Loh: Thank you, GengHui for writing this article and your kind words on me. You have also contributed greatly to the UQ alumni community in Singapore. 

I was at UQ 1960 to 63, studying Economics majoring in Accountancy. In  those days, there were only a handful  of students from both Singapore and Malaysia. So we knew each other very well, although we were in different courses and at different campuses. I served as the Honorary Treasurer of the Malaysia-Singapore Students Association at UQ. President was Ms Selena Lam who passed away 2 years ago in Singapore. I still keep in touch in Singapore, with 3 other UQ alumni of my time, Dr Phua Kong Boo, Senior Consultant at KK Hospital, Mr Kenneth Chew Keng Seng, Chief Financial Officer of Prima Flour, and Mr Lee Hoong Seun, retired Accountant. I very much enjoyed my student days at UQ, whose academic and other staff were very friendly and helpful.

GH: I read your CV, you have a very impressive various work and executive level experiences, as well as professional memberships. How has your degree from UQ help you in your career advancement over the decades?  

Mr Loh: In  those days, graduates  were not many, and honors graduates were even fewer. I owe my good career advancement to my UQ education, especially my first class honors degree.

GH: When and how did you start to get involved in UQ Singapore alumni networking events, activities and gatherings?

Mr Loh: I joined the UQAAS upon my return from Australia in  1965. I also joined Australian Alumni Singapore, of which I am a Past PresidentBoth have been good platforms for fellowship and networking.

GH: What advice would you give to current UQ students and recent UQ graduates on networking at alumni events?

Mr Loh: Alumni events are  excellent opportunities to catch up with old friends and meet new ones. Contacts are important for our work and business. To be successful in life, we must have more friends and less enemies.

GH: Of all the many UQ alumni networking events, activities and gatherings that you attended, which UQ Singapore alumni or UQ alumni networking events are the most memorable to you? Which event was that? Would you kindly share more about that event?

Mr Loh: I was very impressed with the initial few events I participated. That attracted me to continue to attend its events.

The dinner talk held on 9 June 2022 was great and had a good turnout of 50 UQ alumni. It was a sponsored event and alumni attended free, with dinner, talk and networking. I hope we will have more of these events.

GH: How many times have you visited UQ campus in Brisbane after your graduation? How are the changes like, as compared to your undergraduate days? 

Mr Loh: I have been back to UQ about 10 times, including the 100 Years Anniversary of UQ and 75 Years Anniversary of Department of Economics. In my first visit some years after graduation, I got lost at St Lucia campus and could not find my way to the Department of Accountancy to visit my professor, the late Prof Reg Gynther, as there were so many new buildings after I left UQ

GH: The recently graduated UQ graduates are young and energetic, they are probably in the same age band as your grandchildren! How do you manage to keep in touch and engaged with those young and energetic UQ Singapore alumni?  

Mr Loh: The young alumni are really energetic and up to date.  I enjoyed meeting and talking with them. They are more up to date on new technologies. I do learn new ideas and happenings from them. 

GH: What are your favourite hobbies, leisure and recreational activities? 

Mr Loh: I spend much time in attending events, both work related and social. I also play golf, card game and do gardening. 

GH: What is life like for you right now? Actively working as a Senior Adviser or having a nice balance of work and retirement lifestyle? 

Mr Loh: At 84, I am still working full time and enjoying it.  This keeps me healthy and alert. I will continue to work as long as I am healthy, able to contribute to my employer and work is interesting.

GH: The UQ Singapore alumni community has started to hear and know more about your philanthropy work that you have started – UQ Singapore Alumni Fund. Would you mind sharing a brief introduction into this?

Mr Loh: This is a small fund and is just a token of my appreciation to UQ, for the valuable education I received, which has helped me greatly in my career advancement. 

In one of his visits to Singapore, Mr Ted Wynn, Director of Advancement, UQ BEL Faculty, suggested that I contribute to start a fund to help Singapore students at UQ who need financial help. I agreed and committed to a fixed yearly contribution for 5 years from 2017.  

When the first 5 years ended in 2021, I pledged to continue to continue for another 5 years till 2026.  My total contribution will be A$50,000.  Mr Ted Wynn wanted to name the fund as Loh Hoon Sun Fund. I persuaded him to use a common name so that other people will also contribute to this Fund, making it a bigger fund to benefit more Singapore students at UQ. 

It was then named The UQ Singapore Alumni Excellence Prize. With the recommendation of Ms Suyin Lee, Chair of UQ BEL Singapore Alumni Ambassadors Council, and approval of UQ, the Fund has just been renamed UQ Singapore Alumni Fund, which is more appropriate.

Coming soon in Part Two  

We will learn more about Mr Loh’s philanthropy work, the history and story behind UQ Singapore Alumni Fund and purpose of the Fund –

By: Genghui Tan (UQ BEL Singapore Alumni Ambassador)

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