A Brief History of St. Joseph's College

Rectors
Rev. Fr. Charles Collin
Rev. Fr. C. H. Lytton
Rev. Fr. Emile Nicholas
Rev. Fr. M. J. Legoc
Rev. Fr. Peter. A. Pillai
Rev. Fr. W. L. A. Don Peter
Rev. Fr. Mervyn P. Weerakkody
Rev. Fr. Quintus G. Fernando
Rev. Fr. Neville F. Emmanuel
Rev. Fr. D. B. Stanley Abeysekara
Rev. Fr. Stanley Victor Silva
Rev. Fr. Sylvester Ranasinghe
 
Introduction

In the year 1892, the idea of a Catholic College emerges with the proposal of the Archbishop of Colombo Rt. Rev.Fr. Christopher Bonjean. In the year 1892, on the 6th January, a pastoral letter was sent to all the priests espousing the desirability of building a Catholic College at St.Mary's College premises at Mattakkuliya. In April 1892, a public meeting was held to collect funds and discuss the plans for the Catholic College.

Thereafter 27 acres of Land called the 'uplands' was bought by the Archbishop for this project, from the government . Later however, this land was bought back by the government with compensation, and the catholic church bought a land at Maradana in Darley Road from an Egyptian called Arabi Pasha for the College building.



Rev. Fr. Charles Collin

On the 12th December 1894 the foundation stone was laid by the papal delegate for Asia Rev. Msgr, Zalesbbi. In the year 1896, on the 2nd March 1896, St.Joseph's College Colombo was declared open with 211 students in the school proper and 96 students in the preparatory school with Very Rev. Fr.Charles Collin as the Frst Rector.

In November 1896, on the 2nd March, the College building was formally declared open by Governor of Ceylon West Redgeway and was blessed by Most Rev.Msgr, Zalesbbi, in the presence of the Archbishop Rt.Rev.Fr.Melizan O.M.I. The Rector 's office, the College office and the class rooms were all housed in the 1st building – the Clock Tower building of the College. The College Magazine was started in the year 1905.



Rev. Fr. C. H. Lytton

The Bonjean Hall was the 3rd building to be completed. Fr. Charles Lytton, the 2nd Rector, planned and supervised the building project of the Bonjean Hall.



Rev. Fr. Emile Nicholas

Fr.Emil Nicholas O.M.I. was the 3rd Rector appointed in the year 1910. To Fr.Emil Nicholas goes the credit of primary work on the 1st Religious Association of the College – the Guild of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.



Rev. Fr. M. J. Legoc

In the year 1914, there was the appointment of the great educationist, scientist and efficient administrator Fr.Maurice J.Legoc O.M.I. the 4th Rector. In the year 1933 the present Primary building – originally named "The Maurice Block" was constructed. This building was an exact copy of the Bonjean Hall was declared open by Most Rev. Fr.Marques.

The next massive building was the (south Wing) a two storied building to house the class rooms. During Fr.Maurice Legoc's tenure of office, there was emphasis of the science subjects in the curriculum, Fr. Legoc's favourite subject was Botany. His own publication "Tropical Botany" was used as a text book in O' Level classes in India and Sri Lanka.

In the year 1930, Fr.Maurice Legoc introduced a scheme of scholarships to the under privileged students. To extend the fruits of knowledge to the students in the outstations,Fr. Maurice Legoc commenced: (a) St.Joseph's College south Later St.Peter's College in 1922 (b) St.Paul's College Waragoda (1935) (c) St.John's College , Dematagoda (1939)

On the 19th March 1929, the foundation stone for the College Chapel was laid by the Archbishop of Colombo. The College Chapel is a fitting memorial to Fr.Maurice Legoc. T he southern end of the Primary building an exact copy of the Grotto in Lourdes was built.



Rev. Fr. Peter. A. Pillai

In the year 1940, the Very Rev.Fr.Peter A.Pillai (5th Rector) was appointed. In the year 1947 – 27th February, due to the World War 2, the College buildings were taken over by the Army. The College was in 'exile' from 1942-1946, branches of the College were housed in Homagama, Kalaniya, Gampaha and later at Borella.

On the 30th July 1952, the swimming pool was declared open by Lord soulbury, the Governor General of Sri Lanka.



Rev. Fr. W. L. A. Don Peter

after the era of Fr.Peter A.Pillai, Rev. W.L.A. Don Peter (6th Rector) was appointed as the Rector of St.Joseph's College in 1959. Fr. Don Peter was the first diocesan priest to hold this responsible post.

In 1960, after the take over of the schools by the Government the financial support was stopped by the government. The College became a private, non fee levying school.

To uplift the financial situation of the College, Fr. W.L.A. Peter founded the Welfare Association, and also started a pre-school for St.Joseph's.



Rev. Fr. Mervyn Weekakkody

After the tenure of the Sinhala scholar,Fr. W.L.A. don Peter, Rev. Fr. Mervyn Weekakkody (7th Rector) was given the task of being Chief Executive of St.Joseph's .



Rev. Fr. Quintus G. Fernando

after a brief period, Fr.Weerakkody retired as Rector and in 1974, Rev. Fr.Quintus Fernando (8th Rector) was appointed as Rector. FR. Quintus Fernando was called the architect of the green revolution at St.Joseph's . He gave pride of pace to agriculture. The agro 74 was a great exhibition which displayed agricultural plots and stressed the importance of agriculture in the school curriculum. The 'Open air stadium' was constructed during the era of Fr.Quintus. The cricket 'Tuft Pitch' became a reality during Fr. Quintus's tenure of office.

On 19th September 1977, the Hon.Ranasinghe Premdasa, the first old boy Prime Minister was felicitated by the Josephian family. The work of the Premadasa Pavilion was directed by Fr. Quintus Fernando.



Rev. Fr. Neville F. Emmanuel

In the year 1979, Fr. Neville Emmanuel (9th Rector) was appointed as Rector. During the era of Fr. Neville he tried his best to re-introduce the Catholic atmosphere in the College. Fr.Neville started the scheme of granting incentives to teachers based on punctuality, attendance, good teaching etc. Fr. Neville initiated the sports council, to improve standards in the sports arena.



Rev. Fr. D. B. Stanley Abeysekara

In the year 1983, in the month of May – Rev. Fr. B. Stanley Abeysekara was appointed as the 10th Rector of St.Joseph's College.

To provide an opportunity for deserving under-privileged students to study at St.Joseph's, a grade 5 scholarship examination was inaugurated in the College. On the results of this examination these students were give an opportunity to study at St. Joseph's College. During the college Prize Giving of 1986, Hon.Ranasinghe Premadas was felicitated with a special award "Jana Pujitha Keethsinghe Vidyala Puthra". In the following year (1987) His Eminence Thomas Cardinal Cooray, a past student of the College was conferred a very special honour – 'Deva Dharma Keethisiri Uttunga Vidyala Puthra'. During the era of Fr. Stanley Abeysekara, the following additions and renovations to the college buildings were completed. (a)A two storied building was completed. The top-story for the class rooms, and the ground floor for the sick room, boarders' refectory and modern kitchen. (b) A well equipped auditorium was built where the Chemistry labs were housed. (c)In 1991, a three storied building was constructed for class-rooms and laboratories for the advanced level students. (d)The Enderamulla Branch school was inaugurated. (e)A sports complex cum auditorium was declared open by His Grace Nicholas Marcus Fernando on 19th March 1996.

The College centenary year was solemnly inaugurated.



Rev. Fr. Stanley Victor Silva

On 30th March 1996, Rev. Fr. Victor Silva (11th Rector) was appointed as Rector of St. Joseph's College. The Choral singing at St. Joseph's College reached very high standards, with Mr. Francis Almeida as music director. The Bonjean Hall and the College swimming pool were renovated.

The introduction of the boating facilities were a valuable addition to St. Joseph's College during the era of Fr. Victor Silva, three class room buildings were constructed for the Enderamulla branch school. The branch-school of St. Joseph's at Kadolkelle – Negombo was inaugurated during the latter days of Fr. Victor Silva.



Rev. Fr. Sylvester Ranasinghe

On 3rd October 2005, Rev.Fr. Sylvester Ranasinghe was appointed as 12th Rector of St. Joseph's College. A systematic staff development programme was introduced at St. Joseph's by the Rector.

During Fr. Sylvester Ranasinghe's era, different age groups of past students started undertaking different projects for the welfare of the College – innovations and refurbishment of the different buildings were undertaken by the old boys under the direction of the Rector.

A three story building is nearing completion to house the class-rooms of the middle school. An extension of the Advanced Level building has been undertaken to rebuild the English Medium and Tamil Medium classes of the Advanced Level. The refurbishment of all the computer laboratories have been inaugurated. The work of computerizing different aspects of school administration and curriculum have also been completed.

On the 31ST July 2009, marked the launch of the "Ten Year Vision Plan" of the College. The vision plan is to achieve excellence in education and produce the model Josehian in terms appropriate to his age and level of maturity" The plan is to produce students with an integral education, who will be men of faith, and witness to love, truth and justice.

Courses in career guidance and vocational education have been commenced in the present era. Efforts are made to educate the students on the History of the College.