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President Rajapaksa attending Dr. A. N. S. Kulasinghe’s funeral. Standing next to him is Old Ben Dudley Thambinayagam

Eminent Old Ben Dr A.N.S.Kulasinghe, who, at 85, passed away on February 14, was given high academic and State honours and held in great esteem both in Sri Lanka and overseas for his achievements and contributions in the field of engineering science.

Dr Kulasinghe was accorded a State Funeral befitting a national leader in Independence Square on Saturday February 18 after thousands of mourners, including President Mahinda Rajapakse , distinguished religious leaders, academics, past and present Benedictines and others, paid their last respects as his remains lay in state at the National Engineering Research Institute. Only the Ven. Narada Thero and Vijaya Kumaratunge were given the great honour of a State Funeral at Independence Square before.

At Dr Kulasinghe’s behest, the College flag was draped over the coffin. The family requested that past and present Benedictines take over the coffin from the Torrington Square roundabout and proceed to Independence Square for the final rites.

A brilliant student, Dr Kulasinghe, at the JSC level, had a burning desire to pursue a career in engineering and found the school he attended had no avenues to further his studies. Then he discovered, he could fulfil his ambitions at St Benedict’s College; applied for and was enrolled into the pre-Matriculation class by Brother Luke, director at the time. This gave him the opportunity to study Chemistry, Physics and Advanced Mathematics, which he did with distinction, and by 1938, he was collecting numerous prizes on College Annual Prize Day as a matter of routine.

He was given permission by College to attend evening classes to simultaneously study Electrical Engineering at the Technical College. This was followed by the BSc. course in Engineering, also at the Technical College.

Dr Kulasinghe left his mark in Sri Lanka as a structural engineer, renowned in prestressing, shell structures and their appropriate technology. He introduced prestressing to Sri Lanka long before the technology had reached the USA from Europe.

He began his engineering career at the Colombo Port Commission in the 1940s, becoming Port Commissioner in 1968, the first non-Civil Service officer to be appointed to the position.

He was founder Chairman and General Manager of the State Engineering Corporation from 1962 and was appointed Chairman of the Central Engineering Consultancy Bureau in 1978. While there he presided over a project dear to his heart, the Accelerated Mahaweli Development Project, that directed Sri Lanka's water resources towards the needs of the country. In the same year, he was appointed Founder Chairman of the National Engineering Research and Development (NERD) Centre.

Dr Kulasinghe was a Vice Patron of the Colombo OBU of St Benedict’s and a very regular contributor to all College development projects. He always made it point to visit College from time to time and inquired regularly about the developments and progress at school. He was ever willing to help us whenever we have requested for his help.

A Benedictine through and through and a Buddhist scholar, may he attain Nibbana.

(**Sources: Benedictine Memoirs and Appreciation by Prof. Priyan Dias, University of Moratuwa published in Sunday Observer- 18/2)
 Posted by webmaster on February 23 2006 14:09:00 · 793 Reads Print


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