Cream and Crimson Awards Luncheon

2015 Indiana University Asia-Pacific Alumni Conference
Grand Hyatt Bali
Karangasem I and II
Bali, Indonesia
May 23, 2015


Thank you, JT. (Forbes).

It truly is a pleasure to be part of this awards luncheon, which is a wonderful opportunity for those of us at Indiana University to express our thanks to some of IU's most distinguished international alumni and friends for their continued loyalty, support, and friendship.

Let me add my congratulations to Martha Tilaar and to Philip Chua for the well-deserved awards they received this afternoon. Mrs. Tilaar and Mr. Chua are outstanding examples of how Indiana University’s alumni and friends are central to the university’s ongoing success.

Presentation of Thomas Hart Benton Mural Medallion

As I have said on many occasions, IU graduates are enormously dedicated and loyal to their alma mater. The spirit of IU may seem like it is thousands of miles away, but it is also right here in this room today, with you, some of our most dedicated alumni from the Asia-Pacific region. You are part of the spirit of Indiana University, and your successes are the university’s successes.

Indiana University’s legendary 11th president, Herman B Wells, wrote in his autobiography, Being Lucky, that the achievements of the university’s alumni represent the “fruits of the university’s efforts in teaching and learning” and that the “quality of their careers is of utmost importance to the university’s standing and claim upon society for continued support.”

Today, it is my honor to celebrate two Indiana University alumna whose are certainly cases in point.

Their remarkable professional accomplishments have made a great difference to Indiana University, to their professions, to their home countries, and to the world. Both of these honorees are immensely accomplished women who are leaders in their respective fields, and they are blazing new trails for women in the sciences, in higher education, and in the financial sector.

DATO’ Professor Dr. Asma Ismail

The first of these two honorees is Professor Asma Ismail.

Dr. Ismail earned a Master’s degree in Microbiology at Indiana University and went on to earn a doctoral degree in Cellular and Molecular Biology at the University of Nevada in the U.S.

She has had a distinguished career in science and now serves as Malaysia’s Director General of Higher Education. She is the first woman to hold the position.

She is one of Malaysia’s leading researchers and has her research has had a major impact on the international level. She has contributed to more than 130 scientific publications, she holds 13 patents, and has received many prestigious awards for her work, including an honorary degree from the University of Glasgow in Scotland.

Her research focuses on the discovery of biomarkers and the development of rapid and affordable diagnostics for infectious diseases, especially for typhoid and paratyphoid fever. She is particularly interested in diagnostics that can be used in underdeveloped countries where there are few resources. Her work has led to the development of diagnostic kits for typhoid that have been successfully commercialized in more than 18 countries around the world since 1994.

She is also a leader in higher education. She helped lead the development of the groundbreaking Malaysian Education Blueprint, and has held a number of faculty and administrative positions at the University of Science, Malaysia. During her distinguished career, Dr. Ismail became the first woman to hold the positions of Deputy Vice Chancellor and Vice Chancellor at USM and is only the fifth woman in Malaysia to be appointed vice chancellor of a public university.

Dr. Ismail, would you join me at the podium?

Dr. Asma Ismail, in recognition of your remarkable achievements in developing rapid diagnostics to prevent the spread of deadly infectious disease in underdeveloped countries, and for your contributions to global higher education, it is my honor to present to you the Indiana University Thomas Hart Benton Mural Medallion.

First given in 1986, the bronze medal features the Benton Mural, which is located in the Indiana University Auditorium in Bloomington. The reverse side has the Seal of the University. It symbolizes the aspirations and ideals that are the foundation of the search for knowledge.

And so, by the authority vested in me by the Trustees of Indiana University, and in recognition of your outstanding contributions to global health, I present to you, Dr. Asma Ismail, the Thomas Hart Benton Mural Medallion.


 Ibu Nurhaida 

Our second recipient of the Benton Medallion is the highly distinguished Indonesian economist and Indiana University alumna, Ibu Nurhaida.

Ibu Nurhaida earned her M.B.A. from Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business.

Ibu Nurhaida is an expert on capital markets and has served since 2011 as chair of the Capital Market and Financial Institution Supervisory Agency in the Indonesian Ministry of Finance. She is the first woman to hold the post.

As chair of the agency, Ibu Nurhaida has led and implemented a number of ambitious long-term plans to make the Indonesian capital market more efficient, more transparent, and to increase investor trust.

She and her colleagues have worked, for example, to prevent market manipulation, to improve and enforce reporting standards, and to protect and develop Indonesia’s capital market as an instrument to sustain and boost economic growth.

By virtue of her strong leadership, her sound judgment, and her expertise, Ibu Nurhaida has held a series of positions of increasing responsibility in the Ministry of Finance.

In 2012, she was appointed—by presidential decree—to the Board of Commissioners of the Financial Services Authority, the government agency that regulates and supervises the financial services sector and helps to protect the interests of consumers and Indonesian society.

Nurhaida, would you join me at the podium?

Ibu Nurhaida, Indiana University is proud of your remarkable record of public service and the superb example of leadership that you provide.

And so, by the authority vested in me by the Trustees of Indiana University, and in recognition of your outstanding accomplishments in the financial services sector, it is my privilege to present to you the Thomas Hart Benton Mural Medallion.



Indiana University is richly endowed in many ways.

Our greatest treasure remains the women and men who carry the spirit of this university throughout the world.

This afternoon, we have celebrated that spirit once again as we have honored the outstanding achievements of four alumni and friends.

Please join me in congratulating all of today’s honorees once more with a round of applause.