Yale-NUS College, Singapore's first residential liberal arts college, held its groundbreaking ceremony Friday at the National University of Singapore (NUS).
200 distinguished guests attended the event, including the Presidents of Yale University and NUS, President Richard Levin and President Tan Chorh Chuan, the Yale-NUS College Governing Board, faculty, students and donors with PM Lee Hsien Loong as the guest-of-honour.
Yale-NUS College President Pericles Lewis, who spoke at the groundbreaking, highlighted the significance of the College as an endeavour that will kick start the growth of liberal arts and science education in Asia.
"As the first liberal arts college in Singapore offering a proactive education through residential living and learning right here in the heart of Asia, we are breaking ground on multiple dimensions.
"We aim to offer a distinctive, global education in a community of learning that will encourage active learning and critical thought," he said.
Two world class architects, Singapore's Forum Architects and Pelli Clarke Pelli in the US, have been commissioned to design and build the future campus.
The Yale-NUS campus architecture will closely parallel the School's educational mission.
The residential model creates 'nested communities' in the Yale tradition of supporting lifelong learning in liberal arts and science by combining academic, intellectual, social, athletic, and artistic life.
There will be three residential colleges, each planned as a "social home" for students and faculty.
Yale-NUS' campus design will also include open spaces that reflect the openness, energy and optimism of the College's curriculum.
The central Campus Green will have six heritage trees and an eco-pond to promote social interactions and outdoor activities.
A total of 30 Sky Gardens will allow students to share a common space in a high-rise 'neighbourhood' with a view of the urban skyline, reminiscent of skyscrapers in Asia.
Dining commons will be unique to each residential college as well as a "buttery", a casual lounge space offering light fare or informal food managed by fellow students.
The first batch of Yale-NUS students will commence classes from August 2013.
The College will be at NUS' University Town (UTown) before the new campus officially opens in 2015.