Befitting honour: Dr Ting (left) handing Dr Ling the letter of appointment of First Chancellor of Utar during the Utar Convocation 2017 held at the university campus in Kampar.
KAMPAR: In a defining moment for Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman (Utar), Tun Dr Ling Liong Sik has been appointed as its first chancellor during the university’s convocation ceremony here.
His appointment was made after the university’s Senate unanimously agreed at its meeting on Jan 18 to honour the former MCA president for his immense contributions to the establishment and development of Utar.
Taking over Dr Ling’s previous position of Utar Council chairman is former MCA secretary-general Tan Sri Dr Ting Chew Peh.
Paying tribute to Dr Ling yesterday, International Trade and Industry Minister II Datuk Seri Ong Ka Chuan said Utar’s achievements were excellent despite it being only 15 years old.
Utar has for the first time joined the ranks of the top 120 bracket of Asia Universities ranking 2017 by Times Higher Education.
“We were ranked second among all local universities after Universiti Malaya (UM), which was placed at 59th.
“And whereas UM is the oldest university in the country, Utar is a very young university,” said Ong, who represented MCA president Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai at the ceremony.
Ong said Utar was set up by MCA to provide education opportunities for Malaysians especially those from the lower income group.
“To date, 48,000 students have graduated from Utar. At any one time, there are 26,000 students pursuing their tertiary education at the university,” he said, adding that 97% of Utar students gained employment within the first six months of graduating.
Utar was set up in 2002 after Dr Ling managed to get approval for its establishment from the Government in July 2001 and a piece of land was bought from the Perak government to build its campus here.
Speaking to reporters, Dr Ling expressed his gratitude to MCA for continuously supporting Utar, saying: “Without MCA, there can be no Utar”.
A total of 592 of 2,628 graduands received their scrolls during the first session of yesterday’s ceremony, which also saw Utar Council member and retired Kolej Tunku Abdul Rahman principal Datuk Dr Lim Khaik Leang conferred an Honorary Doctorate in Science.
Tungling Group chairman Tan Sri Tan Koon Swan was guest-of-honour at session two of the convocation later in the afternoon where 679 graduands received their scrolls.