Ananda College Old Boys’ Association (OBA) was established in 1908 under the guidance of late Sir D. B. Jayatilaka, the Principal at the time. As recorded in Ananda College Journal (inaugural issue) of 1914 the first secretary had been M.C. Raja. The names of J. Ratanasara and E.A. de S. Rupasinghe are mentioned as treasurers in the very early years. The main functions of the OBA in its infancy were to help the College to conduct the Annual Sports Meet and to arrange the Annual Dinner. Rs. 4 was payable as annual membership subscription. Life memberships were not available.
Another event initiated during the early days was an Annual cricket encounter between the present cricketers and the past cricketers, followed by a lunch hosted by the Principal.
There is no record of a specific Constitution. Principal of Ananda was ex-officio the President of the OBA from its inception up to year 1960.
The first OBA dinner was held on the 11th of August 1916 at the Olcott Memorial Hall. Since then the OBA dinner had been an annual event in the OBA calendar. The venue changed from College to Grand Orient Hotel in 1920 and shifted back to the College in 1930.
According to Ananda College Journal published in June 1919 the membership of the OBA stood at 740. However, the list of membership published in 1920 indicated 247 names and their designations. The Golden Jubilee issue of the College magazine in 1936 included an alphabetical index of most of the old boys.
There was a structural change of the composition of the OBA in 1960. The practice of the Principal of the College becoming the ex-officio President of the OBA was changed during the Principalship of S.A.Wijayatilake. D.W. Rajapathirana, then Governor of the Central Bank and a distinguished alumnus of Ananda, was elected the President under the provisions of the Constitution adopted on 14th February 1960. Since then the Principal of Ananda was ex-officio the patron of the OBA. The objectives of the OBA were also redrafted including i) to organize activities connected with educational, religious, cultural and physical advancement of students ii) to develop relationships between the old boys and the college and iii) to look into the welfare of the members of the Association. The annual membership was Rs. 5 and the life-membership restricted to old Anandians was Rs. 50.
The constitution also provides for conferment of Honorary Memberships, upon the recommendation of the Executive Committee and, with two thirds majority of the general Membership, to distinguished personalities (non Old Anandians) who have rendered outstanding services for the development of the School.
Ananda College Development Fund governed by a constitution was established in 1970 under the Ananda College Old Boys’ Association. It was recognized by the Inland Revenue Act as an “Approved Charity”.
Ranapala Bodinagoda Chairman Lake House, a Joint Secretary in the 1960s, took office as the President in 1979. The constitution was amended on the 29th of March 1980 and the life membership fee was increased to Rs. 100.
On 20th January 1997 the constitution was further amended to widen the objectives of the OBA. Within this amendment provisions were made to develop sports and to improve discipline of the students, to seek co-operation of old boys in school activities and to assist the professional development of old boys. Honorary membership was restricted to Alumni of Ananda. The annual ordinary membership fee was increased to Rs. 100 while the life membership fee was increased to Rs. 500.
The revival of the OBA from early 1980s led to a burst of activity in 1985 culminating in celebration of Ananda Centenary in 1986. That momentum continues till date.
The term of office of President was limited to a maximum of two years. The Deputy President elected at the previous AGM was made President Elect to take over the position at the AGM following the completion of two years of the incumbent President. Thus, a contest for the post of President is avoided.
Another important amendment of the constitution was made on 15th December 2000 concerning protection of Buddhist education from possible hindrances and harassment. Also, there were major changes in the composition of the Executive Committee by introducing election of members based on age groups.
The membership reached 2,806 by 1991 and then increased up to 4,473 by February 2000. The membership in 2009 stood at approximately 8,000.
The constitution was further amended on 19th March 2009, regularizing the activities of the OBA in order to face the current challenges.
The most recent amendment to the constitution was made in December 2016. The key changes were increasing the number of Vice Presidents, appointing the Treasurer by management committee nomination and increasing the number of affiliated group representation to the executive committee. Thereby members contesting each other through election process is avoided.
The membership of the association reached 10,000 by end of 2019.
The Annual Olcott Memorial Oration delivered by a distinguished Old Anandian is an important event in the OBA calendar at present. In the early 1980s this event lost its lustre and only a handful of Old Anandians attended. In 1995 the Oration was revived by moving the venue to a committee room at the BMICH with Prof. Sudharshan Seneviratne as the orator. From that year onwards the oration attracted many hundreds and it was brought back to the Kularathne Hall after it was refurbished and upgraded in 2006.
OBA always takes pride in felicitating Old Anandians who have excelled in their respective disciplines and taken leadership in countless spheres of human activity.
OBA has initiated a scholarship program with monthly cash grants, payment of hostel fees and providing school books to the needy and deserving students of Ananda.
From its humble beginnings’ in achieving great accomplishments for alma mater, the Ananda Collage Old Boys’ Association (ACOBA) stands tall and proud.
Honorary Membership, inaugurated in 2009, is limited to five living recipients. It is the highest honour that could be awarded by the ACOBA to its alumni. It is bestowed in recognition of distinct achievements and distinguished services to the country, the nation, Buddhist education and to the school.
Dr. H. S. Perera, who rendered an exemplary service to Ananda was nominated as the first Honorary Member of the ACOBA. He promoted construction of a new Swimming Pool for Ananda and as a dedicated and indefatigable worker of ACOBA, contributed to the development of Ananda as no other person is on par with him for a period over 50 years.
In 2009, three Old Anandians Gotabaya Rajapakse, General Sarath Fonseka and Admiral Wasantha Karannagoda distinguished themselves as national heroes in ending the civil war of the country that lasted for almost three decades.
Accordingly, the ACOBA conferred Honorary Life Membership on Dr. H. S. Perera, Gotabaya Rajapakse Secretary Ministry of Defence, General Sarath Fonseka Commander of the Army and Admiral Wasantha Karannagoda Commander of the Navy at a felicitation dinner held in August 2009 at the Cinnamon Grand Hotel, Colombo.
In 2018, the ACOBA admitted Mr. Asoka Ranjith Pandithage, Chairman and Managing Director of Diesel and Motor Engineering Company (DIMO), a personality whose accomplishments and acts of benevolence to the school and the nation stand out among the alumni of Ananda as an Honorary Life Member of the ACOBA. Mr. Pandithage used his position as a leader of the corporate sector in Sri Lanka to promote the school, support it financially and help young Anandians to find employment, advance their careers and develop them. On account of these and many more accomplishments he was made the fifth in a line of distinguished Old Anandians to earn this singular honour.
It was with profound sadness that Anandians learnt of the passing away of Dr. H S Perera in September 2018.
The ACOBA published her Vision and Mission Statements in the Centenary Volume 1908-2008
To harness the intellectual capital and other resources of Old Anandians to make our Alma Mater the foremost seat of learning at primary and secondary level in Sri Lanka
To play a leadership role in the sphere of education; promote academic, sporting and moral excellence of young Anandians in an environment of Buddhist virtues and to foster fellowship amongst the members
The programs organized and implemented by the ACOBA to commemorate its centenary anniversary included religious ceremonies, activities in College and inter-Schools, Commemoration of Old Anandian War Heroes, publication of ACOBA Centenary Volume 1908 – 2008, Centenary Dinner Dance and Centenary AGM and Dinner.
From its inception the Ananda College Old Boys’ Association has been in forefront of financing the development of the College. Funds were raised to acquire land for the extension of premises and more funds were required for the extension of infrastructure development and implementing new initiatives. Quite apart from donations collected by the ACOBA from large institutions and affluent old boys, numerous donations made by individuals and institutions in respect to ACOBA campaigns boosted the expansion of Ananda College. Various projects such as carnivals, lotteries, sponsored walks, musical shows, plays and dinners were implemented.
Some of the key events, fund raisers and infrastructure development projects in the history of the Association are listed chronologically below:
Second hostel building to compliment the building alongside Ananda Mawatha was constructed out of Rs. 52,979.49 collected from the “Ananda Week” organized during Vesak festival in 1923.
Completed construction and handed over a building alongside Ananda Mawatha to be used as the College Vihara (not to be confused with the current Vihara)
The first carnival was organized in November 1936 as part of the celebrations of the Golden Jubilee of Ananda. The carnival, which included exhibitions was a first for schools in Sri Lanka. The carnival deemed an enormous success and funds amounting to Rs. 41,544.76 transferred to the Golden Jubilee Fund. These funds were utilized to settle the loan from the Theosophical Society, Adyar taken to purchase the original land at Maradana 10 years before the loan was due for repayment.
The second carnival organized to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee and net proceeds amounting to Rs. 72, 710.10 collected. Ananda Trust formed in 1948 to administer the Fund.
Two carnivals were held to collect funds to finance the building programs initiated at that time.
Completed a fully equipped science block now named Fritz Kunz building.
Completed and handed over the hostel extension.
Ananda Playground acquired and constructed due to the untiring efforts of Minister of Education I. M. R. A Iriyagolla, Minister of Finance Dr. N. M. Perera and Chairman of Lake House Mr. Ranapala Bodinagoda, later the president of the ACOBA. The 2 ministers in the 2 successive governments were old Anandians.
A Carnival (Ananda 99) was held to provide funds for construction of the Centenary Building and also to upgrade the College Play ground.
Constructed and handed over Centenary Building to house the administrative block, including the Principal’s office.
A series of Carnivals and Raffles were held exclusively to collect funds for the construction of the Swimming Pool Complex – Stage one in the years 1988 (Ananda 101), 1990 (Ananda 103), 1991 (Ananda 104) 1992 (Ananda 105), 2002 (Ananda 116), 2004 (Ananda 118) and 2005 (Ananda 119). At each of these carnivals a raffle draw was also conducted. In addition, sponsored walks were held in 1989 and 1994. Special lotteries were held in 2003 (Ananda Citroen), and 2005 (Ananda Indica).
The Olcott Hall, the oldest building standing in the college was renovated. Spent over Rs. 800,000 for the development of Science Laboratories.
Handed over the first stage of the 50m Swimming Pool along with ancillary buildings and necessary equipment. The Swimming Pool project was led by Dr. H. S. Perera and the cost of the project was Rs. 18.0 million. The Ananda Swimming Pool Management Company, which is a Company Limited by Guarantee, was established to manage the affairs of the Swimming Pool.
Establishment of the Ananda Museum by the group of ’70- ’75.
Beginners Training Pool constructed at the cost of Rs. 3.7 Million at the Swimming Pool Complex was opened.
Statue of Col. Olcott completed by the Old Anandians Kelani Valley Group. Computer Unit for the Primary School established.
The Administrative Block of Ananda Swimming Pool was constructed at a cost of Rs. 9.0 Million.
The Kularatne Hall was renovated and remodeled at a cost of Rs. 23.0 Million and handed over to the college authorities.
Key Recent Fund Raisers during 2011 – 2018
Removal of the 5 storied Moore Building and construction of “Sathmahala” a seven storied building was completed in 2019. The cost of removal of the old building and the cost of preparatory work for the new building was borne by the ACOBA while the cost of construction was done under the financial grant of the ministry of Education.
This project was coordinated and managed by a distinguished Old Anandian and a past president of the ACOBA Asoka Karunaratne. Old Anandians J. T. Galagedara – Registered Licensed Surveyor, Consultant Architect – Archt. Salinda Rathugama and Chartered Structural Engineer – Eng. Senaka Wanigaratne provided their professional services free of charge throughout this project under the guidance of Old Anandian Senior Professor Thishan Jayasinghe of the Department of Civil Engineering of the University of Moratuwa.
“Sathmahala” consists of 44 spacious classrooms which can be converted to Wi-Fi enabled smart classrooms, A Science Lab, a IT Lab, a Library with facilities to upgrade to a e-library, Aesthetic Study Room, Office space for sectional heads, rest rooms for teachers, toilet facilities for teachers and students office space with archives, a cafeteria and a medical Centre.