Professor Lily Kong is the 5th President of Singapore Management University (SMU), and Lee Kong Chian Chair Professor. She was formerly SMU’s Provost. Prior to SMU, she was at the National University of Singapore, where she also held various senior management roles, including Vice Provost (Education), Vice Provost (Academic Personnel), Vice President (University and Global Relations), Dean (Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences), Dean, University Scholars Programme, and Director, Asia Research Institute.
As Provost and then President of SMU, Professor Kong has led significant change and growth plans. She has led the development of a university strategy that has identified three key priorities: Digital Transformation, Sustainable Living, and Growth in Asia. New undergraduate and postgraduate degrees and programmes have been rolled out. Student enrolment has enlarged under her watch, as have faculty and staff strength. Research income has grown. A new wing in lifelong learning has been established and witnessed significant expansion, two new Colleges have been established, and overseas centres are in the process of being set up in Southeast Asian cities to serve as gateways into the region and from the region into SMU.
Professor Kong is widely known for her research on urban transformations, and particularly, social and cultural change in Asia. She has published a large body of work on religion, cultural policy and creative economy, urban heritage and conservation, national identity, smart cities and education. Her work has earned her international awards, including the Association of American Geographers Robert Stoddard Award for Distinguished Service, a Fullbright Fellowship (at University of California Berkeley), a Commonwealth Fellowship (at University College London), and a Humanities Research Fellowship (at Australian National University). In a 2020 Stanford University study, Professor Kong was ranked among the top one percent of scientists in the world in her discipline.
Professor Kong was conferred the Singapore Public Service Star (BBM) in 2020 and Singapore Public Administration Medal (Silver) in 2006. She has been recognised on Forbes Asia’s Power Businesswomen list 2020, Forbes inaugural 50 over 50 (Asia 2022), and was inducted into the Singapore Women’s Hall of Fame on 8 March 2022.