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St. Joseph's College

Colombo 10


College Patron Saint

Among all the other saints of the Church, St. Joseph takes much prominence as he is the foster father and guardian of Jesus, our Saviour. He, who was the guardian of the Messiah subsequently becomes the guardian and protector of the church, his foster son created. Although there is little on St. Joseph in the Gospel and in the Church tradition, St. Joseph has been vitally discussed by the church throughout its history.

Joseph is first mentioned in the genealogy of Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew and Luke. Joseph links from the most royal lineage of Israel, King David. Joseph is mentioned as the son of Jacob (Heli). During this time Joseph, who was engaged to Mary was aware of the fact that she had been conceived, before marriage. Yet the scriptures reveal that he was a “Just man”, which means he was hold heartedly open and obedient to God and his will. Through a vision by angel Joseph was asked to accept Mary, despite all shame. He did all as the Lord had asked him to do so. This explains us the character of the saint, and also the prime reason as to why he was chosen to be the foster father of God.

March 19 has been the principal feast day of Saint Joseph in Western Christianity since the 10th century, and is celebrated by Catholics, Anglicans, many Lutherans and other denominations. Pope Pius XII instituted the feast of St. Joseph the worker held on the 1st of May in the year 1955.

Pope John XXIII added the name of Joseph to the Canon of the Mass. Pope Francis had his name added to the three other Eucharistic Prayers. We Josephians are blessed to have St. Joseph, patron and guardian of the church as our own patron too. Thousands of old and present Josephians never fail to intercede this amazing saint. St. Joseph’s College will shine and shine much brighter continuing its tradition of excellence for the past 120 years in the days to come.

A Brief History of St. Joseph's College

In 1892, the idea of a Catholic College emerges with the proposal of the Archbishop of Colombo Rt. Rev. Fr. Christophe-Étienne Bonjean.

On 6 January 1892, a pastoral letter was sent to all Catholic priests espousing the desirability of building a Catholic College. It took 4 years until 1896 for this to happen. St. Joseph's College and the Catholic community are forever grateful to all who came together to make this vision a reality, and a special note of thanks must be extended to the administration of St. Benedict's College, Colombo 13 who heeded to the request to support in this endeavor with many sacrifices. The services of all who contributed resulted in the notable progress of Catholic education in Sri Lanka.

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.

On 12 December 1894 the foundation stone was laid by the Papal Delegate for South-Asia Rev. Msgr, Ladislaus Zaleski. In 1896, on 2 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 First Rector. In November 1896, the College building was formally declared open by Governor of Ceylon West Redgeway and was blessed by Most Rev. Msgr, Zaleski, in the presence of the Archbishop Rt. Rev. Fr. Melizan OMI.

The Rector‘s office, the College office and the classrooms were all housed in the first building – the Clock Tower building of the College. The College Magazine was started in 1905. The Bonjean Hall was the third building to be completed. Fr. Charles Lytton, the second Rector, planned and supervised the building project of the Bonjean Hall.

Fr. Emil Nicholas OMI was the third Rector appointed in 1910. To Fr. Emil Nicholas goes the credit of primary work on the first Religious Association of the College – the Guild of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

In 1914, there was the appointment of the great educationist, scientist and efficient administrator Fr. Maurice J. Legoc OMI the fourth Rector. In 1933 the present Primary building – originally named “The Maurice Block” was constructed. The exterior facade of 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 classrooms. 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 1930, Fr. Maurice Legoc introduced a scheme of scholarships to the under privileged students.

  1. St. Paul’s College Waragoda (1935)
  2. St. John’s College, Dematagoda (1939)

On 19 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.

The southern end of the Primary building an exact copy of the Grotto in Lourdes was built. In 1940, the Very Rev. Fr. Peter A. Pillai (fifth Rector) was appointed. In 1947 – 27 February, due to the World War 2, the College buildings were taken over by the Army. The College was in ‘exile’ from 1942 to 1946, branches of the College were housed in Homagama, Kalaniya, Gampaha and later at Borella.

On 30 July 1952, the swimming pool was declared open by Lord Soulbury, the Governor General of Sri Lanka. after the era of Fr. Peter A. Pillai, Rev. W.L.A. Don Peter (sixth 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. After the tenure of the Sinhala scholar, Fr. W.L.A. don Peter, Rev. Fr. Mervyn Weekakkody (seventh Rector) was given the task of being Chief Executive of St. Joseph’s. after a brief period, Fr. Weerakkody retired as Rector and in 1974, Rev. Fr. Quintus Fernando (eighth 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 19 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.

In 1979, Fr. Neville Emmanuel (ninth 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. In May 1983, 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. In 1987 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 with funds provided by the Welfare Association and Old Boys.

  1. A two storied building was completed. The top-story for the classrooms, and the ground floor for the sick room, boarders’ refectory and modern kitchen.
  2. An auditorium was built where the Chemistry labs were housed.
  3. In 1991, a three storied building was constructed for class-rooms and laboratories for the advanced level students.
  4. The Enderamulla Branch school was inaugurated.
  5. A sports complex cum auditorium was declared open by Nicholas Marcus Fernando on 19 March 1996, funded mainly by Old Boys worldwide.

The College centenary year was inaugurated.

On 30 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 with funds from Old Boys from the country and overseas. The introduction of the boating facilities were a valuable addition to St. Joseph’s College during the era of Fr. Victor Silva, three classroom 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.

Rectors of St. Joseph's College

Academic Staff

Success of any organization is dependant on the efforts of its staff. This is never more true than in education where success is measured in terms of results specially at public examinations.

At St. Joseph’s College we are more than fortunate to have a charismatic staff that is passionate and inspiring about teaching. The understanding and empathy they show to the students inspires the students to give off their best. Each student is a special person to our staff and this results .in a bond between student and teacher.

Clerical & Domestic Staff

The smooth functioning of any organization is dependant of the back up services provided by those who operate behind the scenes. I wish to state that the members of these two categories have always and readily responded to the call of duty willingly. I must state that they have been loyal, and perform their duties efficiently which helps this large machinery to function smoothly. I appreciate and thank the staff of the Rector’s Office which includes Mr. Anton Wilson my Secretary. Mr. Shien Pereira, Assistant Secretary, and Mr. Nihal Perera. We must thank Ms. R. Priyanwada, Mr. Priyantha Karunaratne, Ms. Jean Fernando Miss Usha Nilanthani of the College Office and Ms. Vihangi Seneviratne and Mr. Manoj Kumara of the Primary School Office. Mr. Telly Fernando, Mr. Ambrose Rajendram, Mr. Range Heenatigala, Mr. Sisara Herath, Mr. Tharaka Abeynayake and Miss Madhubhashani Weerasooriya all of the Bursar’s Office. Mr. Cecil Fernando who operates the Book Shop. Mr. Nelson Perera who is in charge of the Stores and Mrs.Virajini de Silva our Receptionist/Telephone Operator

Our thanks also go to Mr. Sudath Perera our Senior Librarian, Mrs. Lorraine De Silva the Middle School Librarian, Mrs. Victoria George our Primary School Librarian, Mrs. Kamala Perera who works in the College infirmary. Mr. D.K. Christopher and Mr. Saman Liyanaarachi who work in the Science Laboratory of the College.

We also thank Mr. Harmer, Mr. Alwis and Mr. Of the Security Staff.. Mr. S.M.D Seneviratne who is in charge of the minor staff. Mr. C. Nimal Ananda, who is in charge of the Hostel. And Mr. Mark Anthony who works in the College Chapel. We also thank Mr. Navaratne, the manager of the Sports Complex . MR. Shanthilal Bernard , Manager of the Canteen and Mr, Palitha Peiries, Manager of the Swimming Pool, Mr. Anil Perera who is in charge of victuals in the Kitchen Department.

College Flag

Blue The Symbol of Humanity
White The Symbol of Divinity

College Crest

Cross on the elephant

The Catholic Sri Lankan Identity

Three Lilies of St. Joseph

Faith, Hope & Charity
The Cardinal Values

The Open Book

Book of Wisdom and Knowledge

The Inscription on the Book

"Fiat Lux"
Let there be light

College Motto

"In Scientia Et Virtute"
In Knowledge and in Virtue

College Anthem

The College Anthem entitled "White and Blue" was written by Rev. Fr. J. M. Lanigam, a great friend of Fr. Charles Collin, the first Rector. Music for the anthem was composed by Mr. Edgar Neydoff. Although the College Anthem was written during the last year (1916) of the Rectorship of Rev. Fr. Charles Collin O.M.I. the anthem was sung during the 2nd term of rectorship (1920) of Rev. Fr. Maurice Legoc O.M.I. The Original Manuscript is dated 25th November 1920.


Notable Alumni

Model Josephian

The Model Josephian is, in terms appropriate to his age and level of maturity and experience, a complete and fully-realised character. Analyzing this character helps identify the aspects of facets of personality and accomplishment on which the College must focus in its role of educator and mentor.

In each of the areas shown the Model Josephian is defined by a set of indicators, some quantitative, others qualitative. Although we will not explore them in detail here, it may be helpful to list the essential elements of each aspect, pertinent to which the indicators have been formed.

Model Joe button