Professor Sampath Amaratunge, the visionary and builder of organizations, astute university administrator, academic par-excellence, renowned business consultant and humanist is back in the straddle as Vice Chancellor, University of Sri Jayewardenepura, for a second consecutive term in office.
Professor Amaratunge, BA (Hons.) in Economics from the University of Sri Jayewardenepura, MA in Economics from the University of Colombo, MSc. in Economics of Rural Development from Saga National University and Ph.D. from Kogoshima National University in Japan, counts over 27 years’ service in the University of Sri Jayewardenepura. An authority in Rural Economic Development, Professor Amaratunge has won several awards including the prestigious Research Excellence Award (2002) of the Kyushu Society of Rural Economics, Japan. He has over 75 refereed publications to his credit, both locally and internationally.
Having provided yeoman service as Dean, Faculty of Management Studies and Commerce, University of Sri Jayewardenepura (2008-2014) in completing several important infrastructure development projects and setting up of speciality facility units for undergraduate and postgraduate level education, Professor Amaratunge continued his organization building endeavours under his stewardship as Vice Chancellor (2014-2017) of the university. Thus, he spearheaded setting up of two new Faculties of Study, Engineering and Technology, to the already existing cluster of five (Faculties of Arts and Humanities, Management Studies and Commerce, Applied Sciences, Medicine and Graduate Studies).
Professor Amaratunge’s first term of office is also significant owing to the path-breaking research initiatives that were introduced. The research efforts initiated through the newly formed research council with a fund base of Rs.400 million and seventeen research centres has already showed results. The period also witnessed large strides of development in the spheres of quality enhancement, introduction of new technology and strategic relations.
As Vice Chancellor, Professor Amaratunge takes a unique and inimitable student centred approach in dealing with students. His humane approach to men and matters has made him a dear to academic and non-academic community alike. He is much respected in the university community and is a mentor and role model for many.
Professor Amaratunge is a pragmatic intellectual of many parts. He served with distinction as Chairman, Federation of University Teachers Associations (FUTA) of Sri Lanka (2009 – 2012), a period studded with noteworthy achievements such as establishing sister unions; a research grant scheme for academics and a facility scheme for entry at grade one for their children. Professor Amaratunge had the honour of being the youngest appointed member of the University Grants Commission (2010), and held key positions in several state commissions of importance. In addition, not confining his services to the academia, he sits on Boards of Management of several prominent corporates as an independent director.
Having been a keen sportsman from the days of his alma mater, Ananda College, Colombo, he blossomed into be the best player (cricket) and colours-man during his undergraduate days, and later functioned as President, Sri Lanka University Sports Association (2009-2010). Professor Amaratunge has demonstrated fair play, equality and brotherhood, attributes associated with sportsmanship, in no small measure in his professional life. It is a pleasant coincidence that during his tenure as Vice Chancellor the University of Sri Jayewardenepura become champions of the Inter-University Games for three consecutive years from 2014 to 2017.
Professor Amaratunge has invested in many an ambitious project during his first term in office as Vice Chancellor and has also been fortunate enough to reap benefits of these. During the current term in office he wishes to further his efforts on the existing projects and also embark on a few new projects that will bring glory to the university and its people with positive implications on the society.