Dear Beloved Alumni,
Greetings from UM.
It gives me great pleasure to send you this message, the first in my capacity as the 11th Vice Chancellor of the University of Malaya. Like you, I take great pride in being an alumnus of UM, a premier research university that every year is placed among the top 200 universities in the world.
There are many of you whom I have met over the years – officially and socially, and despite the length of time between gatherings and meetings, the high level of camaraderie among UM alumni is indeed heart-warming. It is this spirit of bonded alumniship that I would need to depend on during the next few years of my tenure as VC.
I have been part of UM’s alumni fraternity since I graduated in 1982 with a Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery. I look back on the 5 years of my undergraduate days with fondness and I have never really left UM since.
My link with UM, since my graduation, has been strengthened over the years with the various posts I have held in UM – as lecturer in the Department of Otorhinolaryngology in 1983; Professor in January 2000; Deputy Dean of the Faculty of Medicine in February 2000; Dean of the same faculty in April 2000; Director of UMMC in June 2000; Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic & International) in August 2006; CEO of UMSC in October 2009 and now as Vice Chancellor since 08 November 2013. I have come a full circle, starting as an undergraduate and now providing leadership in my own alma mater. It is indeed an honour and the greatest challenge in my academic and professional career in UM.
Dear Alumni, Universities are the pride of a nation – a reputation that the University of Malaya has earned with honour by producing leaders of the highest calibre for the nation. Among some of the most illustrious alumni who have passed through the hallowed halls of University of Malaya with pride are 2 prime Ministers, 5 Deputy Prime Ministers, several Ministers, numerous corporate giants, researchers & professors of international stature as well as highly successful professionals in all disciplines. The University of Malaya has had a glorious past and you were definitely part of it, but in celebrating its past, you and I must also guarantee a future that places it among the world’s best universities. There is no denying that in this era of globalisation, where universities compete for top-ranking as universities of first- choice, University of Malaya would have to set its sights beyond its national borders.
To this end, apart from upgrading teaching and learning as well as enhancing high-impact research, I am also mindful of the fact that UM has other greater challenges posed by the Ministry of Education, specifically:
i) To take UM higher in World Universities Ranking so as to be able to meet the aspirations of the National Higher Education Agenda to have several Malaysian universities within the Top 100 in the world.
ii) To be able to self-sustain at least 30% of its annual operating costs which is required to be achieved by the Ministry of Education by 2015.
Every year, UM precedes all other local universities in the top 200 ranking but the issue that begs to be asked is -- Can UM make it to the top 100? UM is now 167. We shall try to better this ranking over the next few years.
As you can well understand, achieving the status of one of the world’s top universities and yet be financially autonomous is not easy. There are certain criteria to comply with and standards to meet which require sufficient funding to ensure the quality of academic programmes and research offered at UM are world class. Originality, creativity and innovation are not cheap hence the need to galvanise and mobilise all resources to ensure sufficient funding. Apart from the academic challenge therefore, UM is faced with the need to garner financial support to transform its programmes.
I would certainly need support from all quarters - students, staff, corporate friends and most of all, UM’s alumni who altogether number 211,550 from the years 1950 to 2012. As a group therefore, UM’s alumni have a critical role in UM’s development, providing support and commitment in various ways – professionally as mentors and champions and financially through philanthropy and fundraising efforts.
To galvanise and mobilise UM’s alumni into a dynamic force, we have activities to not only foster networking among alumni, create synergy between current and future alumni but also to encourage bonding between alumni and UM.
Activities have been planned for the whole year of 2014 for all alumni by the Alumni Advancement Office, Institutional Advancement Centre. The activities encompass a) meetings involving chapters and alumni associations, b) social gatherings such as hi-tea according to particular years of graduation, and of course in true UM tradition c) intellectual discourse in the form of annual forums, dinner talks, etc.
I appeal to all alumni to support these events, organised specially for you, by attending as many as you can. Your support is so important to us in UM because we strongly feel that the spirit of ‘once UM, always UM’ that prevails will help UM in achieving its goals for the nation. I hope to see you in the months ahead, at one or all the events. In the meantime my very best wishes for the New Year. May 2014 be a successful year for you and for UM.
“The success of UM is defined by the commitment of its alumni”
Professor Dato’ Dr Mohd Amin Jalaludin
University of Malaya.