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Singapore Honors BU President

Efforts in higher education earn highest national honor

President Robert Brown with former stuents at a symposium in his honor at MIT on December 9, 2005. This week, he was named a lifelong Honorary Citizen of Singapore. Photo by Melanie Miller

In recognition of his extraordinary contributions to higher education in Asia, Boston University President Robert A. Brown was named on Tuesday a lifelong honorary citizen of Singapore.  The award is the highest form of recognition given by Singapore’s government to any non-Singaporean.

In 1998, as provost of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Brown helped launch the Singapore-MIT Alliance (SMA), with the aim of creating international collaboration in graduate science and engineering education and research. MIT’s partner institutions in the alliance are the National University of Singapore (NUS) and the Nanyang Technological University (NTU) of Singapore.

In 2003, the SMA program was expanded to allow students to earn a master’s degree from MIT as well as graduate degrees from the two Singapore universities. Technology used in the SMA program enables live beaming of seminars by MIT faculty to audiences at NUS and NTU.

In addition to his contribution to the establishment of the SMA, Brown is a founding member of the International Academic Advisory Panel (IAAP), a group formed in 1997 by Singapore’s Ministry of Education. The panel’s goal is to develop world-class institutions of excellence in scholarship and research.

The Singapore award was the second honor received by Brown in recent weeks. He was also recognized for his academic research on December 9, at a symposium in his name at MIT.

Robert Armstrong, head of MIT’s chemical engineering department, called Brown one of the most prominent academic researchers in the world in the analysis of heat and mass transport and fluid mechanics.

"He has made seminal contributions to a number of important research problems," said Armstrong, speaking at the symposium. "In addition to the development of novel, robust, and stable algorithms for numerical simulation of viscoelastic flows and melt crystal growth processes, Bob’s work promoted advances in the fundamental understanding of physical phenomena ranging from flow transitions in viscoelastic fluids to convection, segregation, and defect dynamics in semiconductor crystal growth."

Armstrong added that Brown "had a profound impact on almost every aspect of the Chemical Engineering Department and the Institute. He has played a leading role in bringing many of our current faculty to MIT. He set exceptionally high standards for teaching and research and, in doing so, succeeded in ratcheting up the already high standards of the department."