OBU President’s Message


As the President of the Old Boys Union of Wesley College Colombo for the year 2017/18, it is with much pleasure that I share this message on the OBU website which is now re-activated, after having been inactive for some time.

Wesley College Colombo is named after John Wesley (1703-1791), the founder of the Methodist Church, and one of the Greatest Evangelists in the history of the Christian Church. Wesley College Colombo was founded by Rev. Daniel Henry Pereira on the 2nd of March 1874, and he became its first Vice Principal with Rev. Samuel Rowse Wilkin as the first Principal. There is a popular saying that Rev. Henry Highfield is to Wesley, what Thesius is to Greece. We have absolutely no doubt that the toils and labours of Rev. Daniel Henry Pereira, Rev. Samuel Wilkin, Rev. Henry Highfield, Rev. James Cartman, and all other Principals have nurtured a rich legacy, of which we in this present age are blessed to be the beneficiaries. So it is the fervent wish of every Old Boy, that the present and future generations of Wesleyites will also be nurtured in the same Spirit.

Against the backdrop of this great Heritage and Legacy we have inherited from our Founders through the years, in this 143rd year of the College I take this opportunity to thank the Old boys of Wesley for the trust and confidence placed in me, to give leadership to the OBU Colombo and I assure the Wesley Alumni in Sri Lanka and around the world, of my commitment as the President of the OBU, to uphold the highest traditions and values of our prestigious College.

It is very important to remember that unlike in the other Christian Denominations, which have so many schools under their management and administration in many parts of Sri Lanka, today - out of the 200 + schools which belonged to the Methodist Church before the Schools take over, now Wesley College Colombo is the only Boys school that has remained under the ownership, management and administration of the Methodist Church, after the schools take over in the early 1960’s. Therefore there are high expectations from Old Boys in Sri Lanka and around the world, Parents and Well-wishers that Wesley College Colombo, being the only Boys School left in the hands of the Methodist Church in Sri Lanka, will be administered well. It is important and imperative, that our College maintains quality and the highest standards in every sphere, by being faithful to the noble Christian values and Methodist traditions, on which the Founders of Wesley have built this great Institution. I, as the President of the OBU and my Committee are always there to extend our fullest support and cooperation to the School Administration and the Methodist Church to achieve this objective.

Ever since the Schools take over in the 1960’s Wesley has always undergone difficult times financially. But with the arrival of Dr. Shanti McLelland a new era dawned for Wesley. When he assumed duties as Principal in 2009 the College was in a bad state financially. As Old Boys we acknowledge that during his tenure of five years in office as Principal, because of his effective leadership and excellent financial management, the College had 300 + million when he relinquished office in 2014.

Dr. Shanti McLelland left Wesley on a sound financial footing, paving the way for the next Principals to run the school efficiently, so as to be able to give the best infrastructure, the best teachers, the best education facilities, the best laboratories, where the best results can be obtained by students, in order to make Wesley the best boys school in Sri Lanka, producing Men of Grit and Industry to the Country and to the world.

During this year 2017, the OBU Colombo has many projects lined up to support the College, and much has already been accomplished in the first five months of our term since taking office in March. I gratefully acknowledge the support given to me by the members of the OBU Exco, for answering Wesley’s Call and serving on the Committee, for their encouragement, hard work and commitment, and without whom these projects would never have got off the ground.

I am also very pleased with the enthusiasm of the different Batches who are actively involved with the OBU Colombo, carrying out different projects for the progress of College. Their exuberance and dynamism keeps the Double Blue Spirit alive in the hearts of the younger generation of Old Wesleyites.

In conclusion I invite all fellow Old Boys in Sri Lanka and around the world, to be in touch with us via this website, and share news of Old Boys and their achievements in the field of Academics, Sports, Arts, Music, Drama and interesting anecdotes that will keep the Double Blue flame burning.

Ora Et Labora

Wilhelm Van Dort
President Old Boys Union - Colombo