In the earlier instalment of this interview, we got to know Mr Loh better from both a professional and personal perspective. One of his many achievements is his philanthropy work, in the establishment of the UQ Singapore Alumni Fund. In this second part of the special feature, we will explore the history and story behind UQ Singapore Alumni Fund.
UQ Singapore Alumni Fund
The UQ Singapore Alumni Fund was established by Mr Loh Hoon Sun in 2017. The purpose of this Fund is to:
- Help Singapore students in UQ who have financial difficulties; and
- Provide prizes to encourage good academic performance.
Not many current UQ students and fellow UQ alumni are aware of the UQ Singapore Alumni Fund. I’m sure many would support the Fund if there was better understanding of its purpose. Let’s take this opportunity to learn more about UQ Singapore Alumni Fund from the founder himself.
GH: I reckon not many of us, both current UQ students or UQ alumni know about this UQ Singapore Fund, would you kindly share more about how did this fund get started, what is the story behind it?
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 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.
GH: The fund that you started is getting a rebranding to UQ Singapore Alumni Fund, how do you feel about this change?
Mr Loh: I think this is a more appropriate name, than the previous UQ Singapore Alumni Excellence Prize. The main purpose of this Fund is to help Singapore students at UQ, who unexpectedly face financial difficulties, eg, during the recent Covid-19 years, some of their parents could be out of work or their businesses not doing well.
The second objective is to encourage good academic performance.
GH: For those UQ students that received your blessings from your UQ Singapore Alumni Fund, what would be your well wishes and advice for them?
Mr Loh: I hope after graduation, they will do well in their careers, become an active member of the UQ Singapore Alumni community, and contribute when able, big or small, to this Fund to help others in need.
GH: Moving forward with the UQ Singapore Alumni Fund over the next decade and beyond, what are thoughts and plans for this Fund? What do you hope to achieve further?
Mr Loh: When this Fund grows to substantial size, we can consider providing scholarships in addition to financial help and prizes.
Last but not least – Words of wisdom by Mr Loh Hoon Sun
As I began to wrap up this two parts special feature and interview with Mr Loh Hoon Sun, I have asked Mr Loh to kindly share with us his words of wisdom from his decades of corporate work and executive experiences, his UQ alumni networking stories and advice for the current UQ students and the UQ Singapore alumni community at large.
GH: You have been very active and supportive of UQ Singapore alumni networking, events and activities over the decades, how do you feel about this and how can the UQ Singapore alumni community improve and expand further?
Mr Loh: I hope UQAAS will organise more frequent events for alumni to network. It will also be interesting to organise group visits to UQ and revisit places of interest in Brisbane where we frequented during our student days.
GH: After exiting from a global pandemic crisis 2020 to 2022, the world is facing a new set of economic, regional and political uncertainties in 2023 and beyond. From decades of experiencing and navigating through various types of crises, what advice would you give to our current UQ students as well as our UQ Singapore alumni community?
Mr Loh: In this world, change is the only constant. Even without the Covid pandemic, the world has been changing rapidly. We have the Online Sales that affect the retail business, Green Economy that effects many commodities, Computer and Hand Phone that allow us to work from anywhere and affecting office rental, these are just a few examples. Thus it is very important for us to keep up with new technologies and innovation, which affect our life, work and business. UQAAS can play a part in this area by organising relevant talks.
GH: For those current students studying in UQ, what advice would you give them, on studying in UQ or living in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia?
Mr Loh: This will depend on each person’s profession, area of interest, employment opportunities and personal interest. I think most graduates like to return and work in Singapore, to be with their family and friends.
GH: In your personal opinion, what do you see are the key areas that the world needs to look at in the next decade? Technology developments in AI? Sustainability and renewable energy? Or other sectors that we might have not given too much thought about?
Mr Loh: Technology whether AI or others, and green economy including climate change, will be the most important.
I would like to Pay-It-Forward and support the UQ Singapore Alumni Fund, how should I go about doing it?
If you would like to Pay-It-Forward and support the UQ Singapore Alumni Fund, the UQ BEL Singapore Ex-Co and UQAAS sincerely thank you and welcome you onboard this noble and meaningful journey with fellow UQ Singapore alumni community members.
You can donate to the UQ Singapore Alumni Fund during UQ Giving Day, more information would be shared closer to the UQ Giving Day 2023. Meanwhile, please help to Pay-It-Forward and Pass-It-On, the story behind the UQ Singapore Alumni Fund with your fellow mates from UQ.
UQ Singapore Alumni Fund – https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/singapore-alumni-fund
Keep in Touch with UQ Singapore Alumni Community!
To the UQ Singapore alumni community here in Singapore, let’s continue to keep in touch with each other through social media platforms and alumni events, gatherings and networking events.
Join us here on
- The University of Queensland Alumni Association Singapore (UQAAS) on LinkedIN: https://www.linkedin.com/groups/4581295/
- UQ Alumni Association Singapore (UQAAS) Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/6213862715
Get your fellow UQ mates in Singapore back in action too! Spread the word!
A Writer’s Personal Heartfelt Note
On a personal note, this has been a great honour for me to interview Mr Loh Hoon Sun, a legendary and remarkable UQ alumnus, one of the first UQ alumni community folks that I first met when I went for my first UQ Singapore alumni event back after graduating in 2002.
More than just a distinguished UQ alumnus, he’s a mentor, adviser, an alumni senior, yet down to earth, a friend that is full of humility and kindness, shown to the UQ Singapore alumni community. I sincerely appreciate his support and advice for my fellow UQAAS Ex-Co members and myself during our two terms of office as UQAAS Ex-Co office bearers.
Through this two-part special edition story and interview, I hope that I have given you a more in-depth insights into Mr Loh Hoon Sun, more than just a distinguished UQ alumnus, the things he has done for UQ Singapore alumni, the philanthropy work and legacy he is creating for the UQ Singapore alumni and its future with the UQ Singapore Alumni Fund.
Thank you Mr Loh, from all of us here in the UQ Singapore alumni community, for your service and dedication.
By: GengHui Tan (UQ BEL Singapore Alumni Ambassador)