Standing at a remarkable stage of 75 years of history, University of Peradeniya celebrated their diamond jubilee with much pride and excellence on last Tuesday 10th of January 2017. The event took place at the university gymnasium with the presence of the Chancellor Prof. P.W Epasinghe, Vice Chancellor, Prof. U.B. Dissanayake, Prof. (emeritus) B.L. Panditharatne, former Vice Chancellor, University of Peradeniya , Mr. M.B. Adikaram, former Registrar, University of Peradeniya. University of Peradeniya, as the foremost institution of its kind bears the reputation and honor of being the cornerstone of the establishment of higher education in Sri Lanka.
1906 was the year when the initial steps were taken through ‘the Ceylon uni association’ to bring the university concept into being by sir, Ponnambalam Arunachalam and sir, Marcus Fernando. In 1926, it was suggested to locate the university out of the outskirts of Colombo and eventually, sir, Andreas Nell and Dr. S.R.C.Paul proposed Peradeniya as the best fitting location. In 1938, a land of 150 hectares named ‘university park’ was first put under construction. After the appointment of sir, Ivor Jennings as the second vice chancellor, major plans of construction were put into practice. With its most significant years, the roots of the university run back to 1st of July 1942. When it was established as University of Ceylon, there had been 55 academic staff members, 904 students and had consisted of 4 faculties.
This name might have suited well to the university, as it was the only university in Sri Lanka then. The history reveals that this was ‘the name’ until 1952 and after 1952 it was named ‘University of Ceylon Peradeniya. This was the year when the university was officially established. With the presence of Queen Elizabeth, Prince Philip and Count Edinburg, the official inception of the university was celebrated on 6th of October 1952. This name continued until 1972 and after, it was called, ‘Peradeniya campus, University of Sri Lanka until 1978. It was only after 1978, the university got the name as ‘University of Peradeniya’. Sir, Ivor Jennings has once declared that ‘no university in the world would have such a setting’ on his first visit to the university.
In the present, the university includes nine faculties with approximately 11 000 students and the current vice chancellor is prof. Upul B. Disanayake. As measured, approximately, the occupation of the university land, together with the halls of residence and staff bungalows lays around 130 hectares. University of Peradeniya has been held a marvel of the university history throughout those years of transformation and in the present too, for fathering many generations of outstanding citizens to the country. Above all, it bears the blessings of the nature as it was noticed by the ones who should take all honor of making their plans work since and before 1942.