NEW WARDEN OF S.THOMAS’ COLLEGE, MOUNT LAVINIA
Professor Indra de Soysa was instituted and installed the 18th Warden of S.Thomas’ College, Mount Lavinia by the Rt Rev. Dhiloraj Canagasabey, Lord Bishop of Colombo, Chairman of the S.Thomas College Board of Governors and Visitor to the School, at a special service in the College Chapel of the Transfiguration on 8th February 2012. A large and representative gathering that included the first Lady Madam Shiranthi Rajapakse, the Norwegian Ambassador, Members of the Board of Governors, members of the OBA and PTA as well as staff and students of the College and well wishers were in attendance at this important ceremonial event.
Warden Indra de Soysa hails from a famous Anglican family and his grand uncle the Rev. Harold de Soysa was the first Sri Lankan to be consecrated Anglican Bishop of Colombo. Warden de Soysa is himself a distinguished product of the College by the sea having entered during the time of Warden SJ. Anandanayagam and left on completion of his Advanced Level Examination in 1984 during the tenure of Warden Neville de Alwis. While in College he was best known for his excellence in Table Tennis and in 1980 became Junior National Champion. Upon completion on his secondary education Warden de Soysa went to the USA for his higher studies and obtained a PHD in 1998 for a thesis on the role of foreign investment in economic and political development, which was subsequently published as an article in the American Sociological Review. In 1992, he married Ann Kristin, a Norwegian national and they have two daughters Sooriya and Christiana. Having spent some years in Germany Warden de Soysa took up an assignment in Norway in 2003. He assumed duties as Warden on 1st January 2012.
The service of Institution and Installation was typical of a Thomian ceremonial event – well planned and well execute with dignity and reverence with the famed Thomian Choir adding the proverbial “icing on the cake.The service was preceded by a colourful procession of the new Warden, officiating clergy and the Lord Bishop, from the Main Gate of the school led by the College Flag carried by the Deputy Head Prefect and the School’s Hewisi band. After the lighting of the oil lamp at the entrance of the Chapel the procession made its way into the Sanctuary with the recently restored awe-inspiring Mural of the Transfiguration in all its splendour bringing an aura of holiness and glory to the entire Chapel,The Chaplain assisted by other officiating clergy conducted the Liturgy of the word while the Lord Bishop of Colombo preached a challenging sermon in which he commissioned the new Warden to a threefold task – to trust in God for the many tasks he has to perform, to cultivate trust in his own life so that those for whom he is responsible will be able to depend on him, and to work towards sending out boys from the College who could be trusted by others. The new Warden was then instituted to his sacred charge by the Lord Bishop and installed in the Warden’s stall by the Archdeacon of Galle and the Manager of the College. His presentation to the assembled gathering was accompanied by applause and the pealing of the Chapel Bell, At the offertory that followed the Sharing of the peace, the School Flag was presented to the Bishop by the Head Prefect as a symbolic act of rededication of the School to God and was placed on the Altar after it was blessed. Then followed a solemn celebration of the Holy Eucharist by the Lord Bishop and assisting clergy and the service concluded with the recession to the steps of the Chapel from where the Lord Bishop blessed the School and presented the Warden to the community of the School gathered round the quadrangle. The Warden then walked to the middle of the quadrangle accompanied by the Sub Warden and raised the College Flag.The morning’s proceedings concluded with assembled gathering singing the College song and the National anthem accompanied by the Western and Hewisi Bands respectively.
Prof. Indra de Soysa assumes the mantle of 18th Warden at a crucial time in the 161 year old history of the College. He stands in succession to many great men who have held the office before him during this period. At a time when socio-cultural changes are transforming even the field of education he has the responsible task of ensuring that S.Thomas’moves into the modern world with its traditions intact and its goals undiluted and unimpaired, a task that demands balancing the old with the new. He takes up his charge at his alma mater with a very clear mandate to steer the School not just towards attaining excellence in academics, extra curricular activities and the field of sport but more importantly as the Bishop reminded him in the sermon, he will also be expected to focus on building up discipline aiming at the formation of integrated young men to go out of the College to serve the nation and world as model citizens.There is no doubt that all those associated with the School will need to support him and stand with him as he seeks to fulfill this task.