Father-figure in campus, he helped the impoverished
Remembering Prof. Stanley Wijesundera on his 17th death anniversary
Prof. Stanley Wijesundera B.Sc (Science) Hons, M.Sc (UK), D.Sc (UK), Ph.D (Oxford), Lecturer, Professor, University Administrator and Colombo University Vice Chancellor, was brutally murdered by terrorists on 8.3.1989, sending shock waves among intellectuals, professionals and varsity students in Sri Lanka and the world over.
Prof. Stanley Wijesundara hails from a very respectable Sinhala Buddhist family in Kandy. He was educated at Trinity College in Kandy and later entered Dharmaraja College, Kandy and Ananda College in Colombo. He excelled in his studies and sports while in college. He successfully entered the University of Ceylon, Colombo and Peradeniya and got through his B.Sc (Honours) in Chemistry.
He entered the University of London and Oxford on scholarship and was very successful in his M.Sc (UK), D.Sc (UK) and Ph.D (UK) examinations. Since returning from the US universities, fully armed with brilliant academic qualifications with honours, he was appointed as lecturer in the University of Ceylon.
He was appointed as professor of Chemistry, Dean of the Faculty of Chemistry/Science and later was appointed as Vice Chancellor of the University of Colombo.
He did excellent services for the welfare of the poverty-stricken undergraduates, sometimes with financial assistance out of his own pocket, to educate and discipline them as good citizens. He was more or less a father to them. He was a very simple gentleman with humility.
During 1987-89, JVP/DJV insurrection was intense in Sri Lanka. Prof. Stanley Wijesundara was a very patriotic, charismatic and fearless Vice Chancellor and Administrator. He was subject to a brutal attack in his own study at the University Union College Hall at Thurstan Road in Colombo on 8.3.1989. He was shot for not following terrorist instructions to close the university.
He was married to the daughter of the late Mr. and Mrs. Walter Wijewardena of Miriswatte Walawwa in Kamburupitiya, whose brother-in-law was the world renowned business tycoon, the late Phillip Upali Wijewardena.
I came to know him well as his wife Anula Helena Wijewardena Wijesundara is a cousin of my wife, Iranganiedevi Seneviratne Jayaratne of Denipitiya Walawwa, Denipitiya, Weligama with Hallala Gunatillake roots in Hallala Walawwa, Hallala, Weligama.
Prof. Stanley Wijesundera died for the nation mainly due to his patriotism, character, integrity and fearlessness in performing his duties to the country first and self later.
On March 8, his 17th death anniversary the Kelaniya Rajamaha Viharaya arranged a pinkama as he was its Basnayake Nilame during his lifetime and later succeeded by his beloved and charismatic son, Shalitha Wijesundara, who is also an Attorney-at-Law and Chairman of the Sri Lanka Airports Authority