OLLSCOI na hÉIREANN
NATIONAL UNIVERSITY OF IRELAND
TEXT OF THE INTRODUCTORY ADDRESS DELIVERED BY:
PROFESSOR PATRICK MURPHY, Dean of Medicine, University College
Dublin on 19 June 2014 in the Singapore, on the occasion of the conferring of the degree of Doctor of Medicine, honoris cousa, on DATO DR LESLIE LAM.
Distinguished guests, colleagues and friends,
It is my great honour to be here amongst such distinguished company on this very special
occasion. We have gathered to honour Dato Dr Leslie Lam - a UCD medical graduate and
ambassador who has had a tremendous impact on the lives of many people in Singapore,
Southeast Asia, and Ireland, and we are very pleased today for UCD to be able to recognise
Dr. Lam's contributions.
Following his education in Singapore and at Blackrock College in Dublin, Dr Lam studied
Medicine at UCD (as did his tuture wife Ivy Yap) graduating MB BCh BAO n 1967 .In
further studies at UCD, Leslie obtained his BSc (in Pharmacology, studying with Prof. Paul
Cannon) in 1969, and a Diploma in Child Health inl975. While doing his BSc, he worked as
Tutor in Clinical Pharmacology in UCD in 1968-1969, along with his Blackrock and UCD
classmate and friend Dr. Niall Keaney, who is here with us today for this occasion. Leslie
did his postgraduate training in Medicine and subspecialty training in Cardiology in the
Dublin hospitals, working with several mentors and lifelong colleagues, including Prof. Sean
Blake at the Mater, Prof. Conor Ward in Crumlin, and Prof. Eoin O Brien (at the Richmond
hospital, now of UCD, and also here with us today, and of whom I will say more later). He
duly obtained his MRCPI and completed his cardiology training in Dublin, before returning
to Singapore, apparently on the wise advice of Prof. Ward.
Dr Lam has had a highly successful and vaded career as a leading physician and
interventional cardiologist, and he has for many years been one of the leading cardiologists
in Singapore and indeed the region. Among the highlights of his career are his service for
some years as personal physician to the Sultan of Brunei, as well as honorary consultant
appointments from the Ministries of Health in Myanmar and in the Seychelles in recognition
of the contributions that he and his team in the Mount Elizabeth Hospital Cardiac Centre
have made to cardiology in the region. Dr. Lam has received numerous honours during his
career, including Fellowships from the RCPI, the Academy of Medicine in Singapore, and
the Society for Cardiac Angiography and Interventions of the USA. In 1984, he was
admitted to the Most Honourable Order of the Kingdom of Brunei.
Of note, Dr. Lam received an Honorary Fellowship of the UCD Faculty of Medicine in
2005, when he also delivered the commencement address at the UCD SMMS Graduation
Ceremony. Leslie has maintained a strong and continuous connection with UCD, and he has
given generously to support a newer generation of UCD students and biomedical scientists
in their studies. Leslie has demonstated his passion for Irish heritage and education in
Ireland through a number of initiatives. The Annual Dr Leslie Lam lecture at the UCD
Medical Graduates Association meetings informed and delighted our alumni for a period of
5 years. Also, a number of our most gifted students have been fortunate to have been
awarded competitive Leslie Lam scholarships to undertake sufilmer research at the
University of Queensland - recent students engaged in research on Amyotrophic Lateral
Sclerosis (ALS) Biomarker Discovery and on Hypoxic Ischemic Injury in the neonate, and
presented their findings in the highly successful annual Summer Student Research Awards
event. Leslie also funded several Molecular Medicine Ireland postgraduate research
fellowships at UCD.
Finally, in December 2012 Leslie partnered with Prof. Eoin O' Brien to donate the O'Brien-
Lam collection, a treasure-trove of Irish literature and heritage, to UCD. This collection
includes many priceless original Beckett items, collected by Prof. O' Brien, a noted Beckett
scholar. The collection also includes a broad range of historical documents, artworks,
photographs, essays and correspondence relating to the history of medical education, Irish
literature, Irish history and the history of art.
This last gift hints at Leslie's other, broader interests, which extend well beyond medicine
and biomedical science. Among the remarks he made in his UCD SMMS honorary
fellowship acceptance speeclr, he noted that he was fortunate to work under Prof Sean Blake
at the lvlater Hospital in Dublin, and that during those formative years Prof Blake persuaded
him to focus on his career in cardiotogy, and stop spending so much time scuba diving.
We're all fortunate today that he did as he was advised! I have also personally experienced
another remarkable aspect of Leslie, which is his enthusiasm and expertise in the art and
science of being a wine connoisseur; I'm unsure whether this derives from his early
experiences as a clinical pharmacologist (if so, he has achieved more in wine sciencs than
anyone else I know if the discipline intemationally), or more likely a manifestation of his
more cultured, innately artistic side, but the results are readily apparent to anyone who has
enjoyed the ge,nerous hospitality of the Lam's in Singapore. Finally, in addition to all of his
other activities, Dr. Lam is also a strong supporter of the hish community in Singapore,
serving as a Director of the Singapore keland Fund.
Dr Lam has been a great friend of education in Medicine and Biomedical Sciences in UCD
throughout his career, and for that we in the School of Medicine & Medical Science, the new
College of Health Sciences, and the whole UCD community are eternally grateful.
Dr Lam, it is in recognition of this friendship that we are delighted to be here today, in such
auspicious company, to confer upon you an Honorary Doctorate of the National University
of Ireland, in recognition of your achievements in clinical cardiology in Singapore, and your
friendship and support of UCD, medical education, and the afis in Ireland. We will now
proceed with the conferring ceremony...
PRAEHONORABILIS CANCELLARIE, TOTAQI'E UNTVERSITAS:
Praesento vobis, hunc meum filium quem scio tam moribus quem doctrina habilem et
idoneum esse qui admittatur, honoris causa, ad gradum Doctoratus in Doctoratus in
Medicina, idque tibi fide mea testur ac spondeo totique Academiae