J. J. Queck says some corners of Singapore are “forever Oregon.”
S’pore Ducks, as UO alumni in Singapore like to call themselves, presented the university with a group gift of $15,000 during a rare reunion with their host families and favorite faculty members on campus in May.
The idea came from Bee Guat Quek, BS ’86, who personally invited the S’pore Ducks to contribute. It will help enhance existing programs to attract or benefit students from Singapore.
“This gift is a token of our heartfelt appreciation to our beloved UO,” said Christina Goh, BS ’85, who last visited campus 26 years ago.
“Splendidly superb and nostalgic” is how Goh described the event hosted by the UO Alumni Association. “It was wonderful to be back in Eugene. Home, sweet home!”
For Bengsee Lim, MS ’86, the highlight was reminiscing over dinner with her host parents, Deborah and Nathan Duke, and favorite professor, Tom Bivins.
“This touched me beyond words,” she said.
It was Lim’s fourth return to campus since graduating nearly 30 years ago.
“Everything looked newer and spiffier, yet it was all still so familiar,” she said of this visit. “Most of the facades are still recognizable despite the extensions, but once inside the buildings, it’s a whole new world, everything so high-tech and spacious, with a lot of natural light and lots of student interaction clusters interspersed throughout.”
The changes happened mainly through the generosity of UO alumni and friends. Asked what she thinks about the UO’s current $2 billion fundraising campaign, she said: “It’s an ambitious stretch target, but hey, didn’t the UO always teach us to aim high?”
Jin-Jong (J. J.) Quek, BS ’83, MS ’84, closed the reunion program with a tribute to the university. He said walking on campus brought to mind a poem he learned in a UO literature course. With credit to the poet, Rupert Brooke, he adapted a stanza from “The Soldier” as follows:
If we should die, think only this of us:
That there are some corners of Singapore which are forever Oregon . . .
There shall be in that rich earth richer dust concealed;
Dust whom the University of Oregon bore, shaped, made aware . . .
See if you recognize anyone in reunion photos taken by Jack Liu, BA ’74, MFA ’82.
By Melody Ward Leslie, BA ’79