I consider it an honour to be the President of the Alumni Association of the University of Colombo, as the Alumni Association is very special to me, having had a very long association with it and having held diverse positions in this Association over the past fifteen years.
The main objectives of the Association are to promote close relations between the University and its Alumni, promote the interest of the Alumni in the affairs of the University, ensure that programs are initiated and developed for the benefit of the Alumni and the University, and to assist the University in its development and pursuit of academic excellence.
It is a known fact that it is vital for any Association to raise funds to carry out and support its various projects. Many of you from experience would know this is no easy task. The Alumni Association is also continuously faced with this challenging task and we will have to make every effort to accomplish this.
As you may know, the Association was the brain-child of the late Vice Chancellor, Prof. Stanley Wijesundera, and having been established in 1982, the Association has been in existence for 40 years. I am proud to say that the Association has had, as members, many distinguished Alumni who have made significant contributions both nationally and internationally. Furthermore, late Prof. Wijesundaraenvisaged obtaining the co-operation and participation of the Alumni to look after the welfare of the University students, particularly the students who come from distant villages to live in the big city with the goal of achieving their academic and professional goals. The interaction of the Association with students, he thought, was necessary to prevent these students from straying from education due to external pressures, and in effect becoming tools of agitation of outsiders who use them for their own personal gains.
Over the years, the Association has carried out several projects focusing on the welfare of undergraduates, not only to support them throughout their undergraduate years but also to develop the personality and the skills necessary to keep pace in the competitive job market they would face in the future. The Association has also organized several programmes to create opportunities for our Alumni members to interact with one another and the academia of the University.
Late Prof. Wijesundera also saw the need for the formalization of an Alumni body officially recognised by the University as in other leading foreign Universities in the world to bring together the Alumni of the University of Colombo under one umbrella for the benefit of the Alumni and the University, and that is how the Association was formed 40 years ago. In order to ensure the cooperation between the University and the Association, the Vice Chancellor was made an Ex-Officio Vice President of the Association and successive Vice Chancellors have held this position and participated at Executive Committee Meetings on a regular basis.
One of the important tasks that we set out for ourselves during the next year is to significantly increase the Association membership. We hope we will be successful in achieving this. A problem that we are faced with is maintaining regular communication with our membership regarding the Association activities. Due to the cost of postage, we are unable to inform you by letter of each and every project. However, I trust that this website will act as a conduit for communication among the members.
We have many initiatives planned for the coming years and many projects in the pipeline to increase member benefits and interaction, student welfare and our reach and impact as thought leaders. We are proud to announce that we have also undertaken the biggest project of the Association in its 40 year history; the building of a Swimming Pool Complex for the University of Colombo, to address a long felt need of the institution. Therefore, we also take this opportunity to call upon our membership and all alumni of the University to partner with us and lend us your co-operation and assistance to deliver on this challenge and make this vision a reality.
You can also follow upcoming activities and information on the Alumni Projects through our website ‘www.colomboalumni.com’ and Facebook at ‘The Alumni Association of University of Colombo’ and look forward to your active participation and support in our future endeavours.
Finally, let me conclude by thanking all of you for your support and we look forward to the continued support and active involvement of the entire membership to carry out our activities in the coming year.
LL.B (Hons.) Colombo, FCMA (UK), CGMA