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SIM commencement marks 10th anniversary of UB undergraduate programs

From left: Ronald Tan, executive director, SIM; Peggy Lim, assistant chief executive, SIM; Victor Liew, vice chairman, SIM Governing Council; President Satish K. Tripathi; Provost Charles F. Zukoski; Kwok Cheong Lee, CEO of SIM Global Education; Stephen Dunnett; James Loi, acting deputy chief of mission, U.S. Embassy in Singapore; Cham Tao Soon, special adviser to the SIM Governing Council; Bruce Pitman; and Arjang Assad.

Celebrating the10th anniversary of UB programs at the Singapore Institute of Management are, from left, Ronald Tan, executive director, SIM; Peggy Lim, assistant chief executive, SIM; Victor Liew, vice chairman, SIM Governing Council; President Satish K. Tripathi; Provost Charles F. Zukoski; Kwok Cheong Lee, CEO of SIM Global Education; Stephen Dunnett; James Loi, acting deputy chief of mission, U.S. Embassy in Singapore; Cham Tao Soon, special adviser to the SIM Governing Council; Bruce Pitman; and Arjang Assad.

By JOHN J. WOOD

Published July 24, 2014

A UB delegation led by President Satish K. Tripathi traveled to Singapore last week to take part in the annual commencement for UB’s degree programs offered at the Singapore Institute of Management (SIM), as well as celebrate the 10th anniversary of UB’s undergraduate programs at SIM.

Nearly 500 undergraduate students in six degree programs — the most ever — received their degrees during the ceremony held on July 18 at SIM, UB’s long-time partner. Members of the UB delegation participating in the commencement ceremony, in addition to Tripathi, were Provost Charles F. Zukoski; School of Management Dean Arjang Assad; College of Arts and Sciences Dean E. Bruce Pitman; Stephen Dunnett, vice provost for international education; Joseph Hindrawan, associate vice provost and director of international enrollment management; and Wei Loon Leong, director of international alumni relations.

Also attending were the chairs of two UB departments offering degrees at SIM — Debra Street of Sociology and Stephen Tiffany of Psychology — as well as a representative of the UB Libraries, Christopher Hollister, currently doing a site review of library support for the program.

Senior leadership from both institutions took the opportunity to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the launch of UB’s undergraduate programs at SIM, which began in May 2004 with one UB Bachelor of Science in Business Administration degree program and only 50 students. Over the past decade, the number of undergraduate degree programs has grown to six — business, communication, psychology, sociology, economics and international trade — and enrollment in these programs has increased to some 1,600 students.

“We are delighted to join our SIM colleagues in celebrating our highly successful, 10-year partnership in delivering outstanding UB undergraduate degree programs in Singapore,” Dunnett said. “This initiative could not have happened without our School of Management’s pioneering Executive MBA program, launched at SIM in 1996. The demand for additional programs over time and the growth in the enrollment is indicative of the quality and popularity of our programs in this part of the world, particularly for those students who cannot travel to Buffalo to earn their degrees.”

All told, 3,920 students have enrolled in the undergraduate programs at SIM and 2,118 have received degrees so far. As part of their UB programs, many students have spent a semester or more at the home campus in Buffalo — some 550 at latest count. At least 70 students from UB’s programs at SIM plan to study in Buffalo in the upcoming fall semester.

In fact, some UB-SIM students study abroad together with Buffalo students — for example, through UB’s popular “Sociology in London” spring-semester program. In turn, UB regularly sends Buffalo students to SIM for study abroad. A group of 40 students recently completed the annual six-week summer program in “Asian Business” at SIM directed by Paul Yong. In addition, several students are preparing to study at SIM this fall. In this year’s first winter session, Buffalo students joined UB-SIM counterparts for a January course in “Cinematic Sociology” at SIM.

Speaking at the commencement ceremony, Tripathi pointed out that more than half of the graduates were receiving Latin honors — a much higher rate than in Buffalo. “This is a great accomplishment and a wonderful tribute to the excellence of our students in Singapore,” he said. “I know that some of you recently attended our University Commencement in Buffalo and I am delighted to have the honor of shaking your hand once again today.”

In his prepared remarks for the anniversary celebration, Tripathi congratulated his counterpart, Kwok Cheong Lee, CEO of SIM Global Education, noting, “It is a great source of pride and pleasure to witness the close friendships that have developed between our students and faculty, as well as between our institutions and between the communities of Buffalo and Singapore as well. I look forward with great anticipation to the next 10 years of cooperation and mutual enrichment between our institutions.”

Tripathi also offered UB’s best wishes on the pending 50th anniversary of SIM’s founding, which is to be celebrated this fall.