Saint Joseph's College, Colombo

St. Joseph's College is a Catholic educational institution located in Colombo, Sri Lanka. It was established in 1896 by French missionaries led by Rev Christophe-Etienne Bonjean. The college enrolls over 4,500 students with a staff of over 400. Distinguished former students include Cardinal Thomas Cooray, the first Cardinal from Sri Lanka[3] and President Ranasinghe Premadasa. The (Latin) motto of the college is In Scientia et Virtute, meaning "In Knowledge and Virtue".


St. Joseph's College
St. Joseph's College
Location in central Colombo
T. B. Jayah Mawatha, Colombo 10

Coordinates6.924822°N 79.860405°E / 6.924822; 79.860405
TypeGovernment-aided private school
MottoLatin: In Scientia et Virtute
(In Knowledge and Virtue)
Religious affiliation(s)Roman Catholic
Established2 March 1896 (1896-03-02)
RectorRev.Fr. Ranjith Andradi
Age5 to 19
Color(s)Blue & White 

The school is a non-fee levying school, whereby it receives some state funding, relying mostly on funds from an extensive network of alumni worldwide.

School buildings cover 15 acres (61,000 m2) and include a sports complex, and an Olympic standard swimming pool which was built in 1952, incidentally is perhaps the oldest swimming pool among Colleges dating back to the 1950s.


Cricket has been played at the school since its founding. At that time it was the only Catholic school in a group of elite, mainly secular or Protestant Christian, private boys' schools which often played against one another.[4] Many alumnae played on the national team.

St. Joseph's oldest cricket rival is St. Anthony's College, Kandy. They compete for the Murali-Vaas Trophy, which was inaugurated in 2007 and named after St. Anthony's alumnus Muttiah Muralitharan and St. Joseph's alumnus Chaminda Vaas. In 2012 the two schools celebrated their historic 100th encounter.[5] The most high-profile rivalry is with St. Peter's College, a brother school founded as its satellite campus and also known as the St.Joseph's College South. Its annual match-up is known locally as the "Battle of the Saints" or "Joe–Pete".[6]


Founded by. Rev. Fr. Bonjean the Archbishop of Colombo.

Rev Fr Charles Collin OMI 1896–1910
Rev Fr Charles Lytton OMI 1910–1912
Rev Fr Emile Nicholas OMI 1912–1919
Rev Fr Maurice Legoc OMI 1919–1940
Rev Fr Peter A. Pillai OMI 1940–1961
Rev Fr W. L. A. Don Peter 1961–1971
Rev Fr Mervyn Weerakkody 1971–1974
Rev Fr Quintus Fernando 1974–1979
Rev Fr Neville Emmanuel 1979–1983
Rev Fr Stanley Abeysekara 1983–1996
Rev Fr Victor Silva 1996–2005
Rev Fr Sylvester Ranasinghe 2005-2014
Rev Fr Travis Gabriel 2014–2019
Rev Fr Ranjith Andradi 2019–present

College anthem

The College anthem was composed by Edgar and J. M. L. Neydorff. The original manuscript is dated 25 November 1920. The words are by J. M. Lanigan, OMI.

Notable alumni

Name Notability Reference
Ranasinghe Premadasa President of Sri Lanka (19891993), Prime Minister of Sri Lanka (19781979), member parliament - Colombo Central (19651985)
Mohamed Amin Didi President of the Maldives (1953)
G. G. Ponnambalam member State Council of Ceylon (19341947), member parliament - Jaffna (19471960, 19651970)
Mohan Peiris Chief Justice (20132015),[note 1] Attorney General (20082011)
Priyasath Dep Solicitor General (20072011), Justice of the Supreme Court (2011present), Chief Justice (2017present)
Thomas Cooray Cardinal (19651988), Archbishop of Colombo (19471976)
Oswald Gomis Archbishop of Colombo (20022009), Chancellor University of Colombo (2002present)
Edwin Wijeyeratne member Senate of Ceylon (19471951),
Nirj Deva Member of the European Parliament - South East England (1999present), member parliament - Brentford and Isleworth (19921997)
J. P. de Fonseka essayist, editor
Hector Fernando member parliament - Negombo (19561960) [7]
Anton Muttukumaru Major General Commander of the Army (19551959)
H. W. G. Wijeyekoon Major General Commander of the Army (19601963)
Janaka Perera Major General Chief of Staff (20002001)
Mark Fernando Supreme Court Judge (19882005)
Don Carlin Gunawardena Botanist, Head of the Department of Science Vidyodaya University
Roshan Perera entrepreneur, business magnate, investor, philanthropist
Annesley Malewana musician
Ashley de Silva international cricket player (1993)
Chaminda Vaas international cricket player (19942009)
Angelo Mathews international cricket player (2009present)
Thisara Perera international cricket player (2009–present)
Dimuth Karunaratne international cricket player (2012present)
Norton Fredrick first-class cricket player[note 2]
J. P. Chandrababu actor
Dayan Jayatilleka academic, diplomat, author
Roshan Ranawana actor
K. W. Devanayagam member parliament - Kalkudah (19651989)
Harin Fernando member parliament - Badulla (20102014, 2015present), Chief Minister of Uva Province (2015)
Tyron Silvapulle(†) Wing Commander of the Sri Lanka Air Force (1986 – 1999) Parama Weera Vibhushanaya recipient.


  1. Mr. Peiris though studied partially at St. Joseph's College is not a member of the Old Boys Union. In January 2015 Peiris' appointment was declared void by government of Sri Lanka
  2. Fredrick played for the All Ceylon team before Sri Lanka obtained Test status


  1. "Twentieth Century Impressions of Ceylon: Its History, People, Commerce ..." Retrieved 24 October 2019.
  2. "Being a Christian in Sri Lanka: Historical, Political, Social, and Religious ..." Retrieved 24 October 2019.
  3. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 27 July 2011. Retrieved 25 October 2010.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  4. "When Royal thrashed Cambrians in inaugural match in 1897". Daily News. 21 July 2013.
  5. "Two saints at battle and the stakes are high". The Sunday Times. 12 February 2012.
  6. "Joe-Pete big match opens new chapter". Sunday Observer. 28 February 2016.
  7. Fernando, W.T.A. Leslie (24 October 2011). "Dr. Hector Fernando worked for the marginalised". The Daily News. Retrieved 5 November 2019.
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