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Sunday August 25, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Monday August 26, 2013 MYT 12:23:13 PM
NILAI University has officially installed its former president, Emeritus Prof Tengku Datuk Shamsul Bahrin, as its first chancellor.
Tengku Shamsul was the first choice for the top post, given his illustrious career as an academic and administrator in Universiti Malaya and long service to Nilai University.
“Academia is the world that I have chosen for my entire adult life, aside from the golf course, that is the area which I am most comfortable in.
“I have dedicated myself to the noble pursuit of knowledge and to pass that on.
“It is what I do, it is who I am,” said Tengku Shamsul.
He has been involved with Nilai University since its opening in 1998, serving as president and vice-chancellor.
Tengku Shamsul obtained his undergraduate degree in geography from Universiti Malaya in 1962 and his master’s degree in the same field from the University of Sheffield, United Kingdom in 1964. He headed the Geography Department in UM from 1969 to 1995 and served as Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences dean from 1975 to 1978 and 1983 to 1992.
Shortly after joining Nilai College (as it was then known), Tengku Shamsul became president of the Malaysian Association of Private Colleges and Universities from 1996 to 2006.
“Having been involved with Nilai University almost from its very beginning in my capacity as president and vice-chancellor, I have seen firsthand the many changes and developments through the years.
“It was literally an empty plot of land in the wilderness when I was first approached to helm the institution.
“There were fears that Nilai was not ‘happening’ enough to attract the teenagers that were seduced by the bright lights of the big city.
“Now 15 years later however, we still hear the same refrain, yet we have grown from strength to strength and have produced thousands of successful graduates,” he said.
In accordance with university tradition across the world, the installation of its first chancellor was celebrated with lots of pomp and ceremony.
A ceremonial mace and a chancellor’s chair were specially commissioned for the occasion and both instruments signified the university’s motto of “Enrichment for Life”.
“Tengku Shamsul has been involved with the development of Nilai University almost from the beginning.
“This alone makes him the ideal candidate to be the first chancellor of Nilai University as he has been instrumental in developing this institution from its humble beginnings as a college to a full-fledged university,” said Nilai University vice-chancellor Datuk Dr Megat Burhainuddin Megat Abdul Rahman in his citation at the installation.
He said Tengku Shamsul could be described as a pragmatic and reasonable person who was always able to see the big picture.
Dr Megat Burhainuddin said Tengku Shamsul had always been committed to academic staff rights at both UM and Nilai University.
“For instance, he made sure that every opportunity was made available for staff to further their academic credentials, which he believed, in the long run, would benefit the students,” he said.
Tengku Shamsul, he added, was a commissioned officer at UM’s Territorial Army, so it came as no surprise that Nilai University was the first private university to have its Territorial Army unit.
An avid golfer, Tengku Shamsul was instrumental in setting up an Introduction to Golf module at Nilai University, believing that students stand to learn valuable lessons from the sport and that it can be a useful networking tool in the corporate world.
Tengku Shamsul said it was an honour to accept the role and responsibility of chancellor.
“As an institution of higher learning, we cannot be a factory churning out cookie-cutter graduates, whose only mission is to get a job and make money.
“Our role is to produce dynamic citizens whose knowledge and skills are going to be the backbone of a developing nation such as ours,” he said.
In conjunction with the special event, Nilai University also unveiled its new coat of arms, commissioned to reflect its upgraded status as a full university and as a symbol of their core values and underlying philosophy. — By ROYCE T. G. TAN
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