By Professor Tommy Koh: Tribute To Greg Clancey

April 09, 2019

In two months, the current academic year will come to an end. In June 2019, Professor Gregory Clancey, will step down as the Master of Tembusu College.  He will be succeeded by Dr Kelvin Pang.  I am sure Kelvin will do an excellent job and will prove to be a worthy successor to Greg

For the past 9 years, I have worked closely with Greg, first, in founding the College and then, in translating our shared aspirations for the college into reality. His aspiration is to make the college a home of possibilities.  My aspiration is to bring the world to Tembusu College and to bring Tembusu to the world.  Tembusu College will always be known as the college which Greg Clancey built.

What are the three attributes of Gregory Clancey which I admire most?

First, he is an honest, kind and thoughtful person. He has an open mind and respects diversity.  He is free of prejudices.  He is very bright but also very humble.  He is loyal to his staff and he fights for them.  He mentors the Fellows and empowers them.  In short, Greg Clancey is a very good man.

Second, he is both an award-winning scholar and a brilliant institution builder. He teaches with passion and enthusiasm.  He is an inspiring leader and orator.  Some students think he looks like Tom Cruise!  He is able to attract talented and good people to work with him, as Fellows and as staff.  In Tembusu College, he has built a world class residential college.

Third, he genuinely loves the students at the college. He has tried to know the name of each student.  He takes an interest in each student’s welfare.  He is always on duty and accessible, as an uncle,  counsellor and friend.  He keeps in touch with the students even after they have left the college.  He has encouraged the students to form their own interest groups and to pursue their own dreams.  As a result of Greg’s vision and hard work, the college hums with activities.  For our students, Tembusu College is truly a home of possibilities.

In conclusion, I wish to thank Greg for his contributions to the founding and blossoming of Tembusu College. His legacy will never be forgotten because it has become part of the DNA of the college.


The Tembusu (Fagraea fragrans) is a large evergreen tree in the family Gentianaceae. It is native to Southeast Asia. Its trunk is dark brown, with deeply fissured bark, looking somewhat like a bittergourd. It grows in an irregular shape from 10 to 25m high. Its leaves are light green and oval in shape. Its yellowish flowers have a distinct fragrance and the fruits of the tree are bitter tasting red berries, which are eaten by birds and fruit bats.