University of Ruhuna

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University of Ruhuna
රුහුණ විශ්වවිද්‍යාලය
ருகுண பல்கலைக் கழகம்
Latin: Universitas Rohana
Former name
Ruhuna University College
Motto පඤඤා නරානං රතනං
Paññayā Narānaṅ Ratanaṅ
Type Public
Established 1978
Academic affiliation
University Grants Commission (Sri Lanka),
Association of Commonwealth Universities,
International Association of Universities
Endowment LKR 2.982 billion
Chancellor Venerable Pallattara Sumanajothi Thero
Vice-Chancellor Prof. Gamini Senanayake
Academic staff
Administrative staff
Students 1,1000[1]
Undergraduates 10,000
Postgraduates 600
Location Matara and Galle, Sri Lanka
Campus Suburban
Language Sinhala, Tamil and English
Colours Yellow, Brown         
Sporting affiliations
Sri Lanka University Games
Ruhuna logo.jpg

The University of Ruhuna (Sinhalese: රුහුණ විශ්වවිද්‍යාලය, රෝහණ සරසවිය (Ruhuṇa Viśvavidyālaya, Rohana sarasaviya),; Tamil: ருகுண பல்கலைக் கழகம்) is a public university in Matara,[2] Sri Lanka.[3]

It is the only university in southern Sri Lanka. It was established by a Special Presidential Decree on 1 September 1978[4] as Ruhuna University College and upgraded to a fully-fledged university on 1 February 1984.[5][6] It is informally known as Ruhuna University or simply Ruhuna.

The University is organised into ten faculties throughout the Southern province of Sri Lanka. Its 72 acres (29 ha) main campus is located in Wellamadama complex in Matara. The faculties of Agriculture and Technology are located in Kamburupitiya (Matara), whilst the faculties of Engineering, Medicine and Allied Health Sciences are located in Galle. Its LKR 2.982 billion[7] financial endowments are used for academic and research purposes of the university. It operates the Ruhuna Library, which is one of the largest academic and research library systems in Sri Lanka. The Ruhuna University Library System is centred in the main library at the Wellamadama main campus and comprises nearly four other libraries holding over 200,000 volumes.


The idea of a University of Ruhuna was proposed by the Cabinet Minister of Education & Higher Education at the time Dr. Nissanka Wijeyeratne.[8][9][10] Ruhuna University was opened on 1 September 1978, fulfilling a desire of the people of the south to have a university in the region. It was housed in the Technical College buildings at Meddawatte, Matara with about 40 academics, 50 non-academics, and 275 students.

Inauguration of University college[edit]

The enactment of the Universities Act No. 46 of 1978 enabled the University Grants Commission to establish the Ruhuna University College. As a result, on 27 August 1978, the Prime Minister J. R. Jayawardene declared open the Ruhuna University College at Meddawatta, Matara, with Prof. Mervyn W. Thenabadu as its Director.

Campus to University status[edit]

The Ruhuna University College was shifted to the new premises in 1984 following which it was elevated to full university status.The new location was selected for the main campus at Wellamadama, two kilometers from Matara facing Matara-Kataragama main road. Professor G. P. Samarawickrama was the first Vice-Chancellor of the University. Hon. Ronnie De Mel, inaugurating the University after being elevated from campus to University status in 1984. During the past 25 years, it has witnessed considerable progress and development in the academic, research and outreach spheres with substantial improvement in intellectual and infrastructure resources and has emerged as a leader of higher education in Sri Lanka. To date, it has produced about 50,000 graduates and over 75 postgraduates.[11] Around 100 postgraduate students are pursuing master and doctoral programs in disciplines that are of relevance to the development of the region in particular and the country in general.

Governance and administration[edit]

The University of Ruhuna is a state university and depends on the government for much of its annual grant, which is provided by the University Grants Commission (UGC). Due to this, its administration is heavily influenced by the UGC. Undergraduate education is completely free. The Governance of the university is under the provisions of the Universities Act No. 16 of 1978 and the Universities (Amendment) Act No. 7 of 1985 along with its own by-laws.

The university's administration is based upon that of the former University of Ceylon consisting of a dual structure of bodies: the Council (formally known as the University Court which is the governing body) and the Academic Senate (academic affairs).

Much of the appointments to officers and faculty are carried out by these bodies, however on the recommendations of the UGC.

Officers of the university[edit]


The Chancellor is the head of the university and awards all degrees, although most duties are carried out by the Vice-Chancellor. The appointment is made by the President of Sri Lanka, to a distinguished person in academics, clergy or in the civil society. The chancellor is Rajakeeya Panditha Pallaththara Sri Sumanajothi Nahimi Thero.


Day-to-day management of the University is undertaken by the Vice-Chancellor, appointed by the President of Sri Lanka. The current Vice-Chancellor is Gamini Senanayake.

Past Chancellors and Vice-Chancellors[edit]


Architectural landscape[edit]

A new building complex for the university was designed by the world-renowned architect Geoffrey Bawa[13] and was constructed at Wellamadama with a unique architectural landscape.[14] The RUC was shifted to the new premises in 1984, and it was elevated to full university status. Edward Reed & Beg Company designed the buildings and the Ballast Nedam Company of the Netherlands completed the construction at all three sites: Wellamadama, Mapalana, and Karapitiya with a unique architectural landscape.

The 30-hectare site straddled three steep hills, the westernmost overlooking the sea and separated from the other two by a low-lying valley that carried the main road from Matara to Hambantota.Architects placed the vice-chancellor's lodge and a guest house on the western hill and flooded the intervening valley to create a buffer between the road and the main campus. He then wrapped the buildings of the science faculty around the northern hill and those of the arts faculty around the southern hill, using the depression between them for the library and other central facilities.[15]

University Complex, Wellamadama

University Complex[edit]

After Peradeniya, which was selected for the beauty of its surrounding, Ruhuna university was the only other campus built with similar ambition.Located in the south of the island, this was the second university complex since the University of Ceylon, to be designed on the same lavish scale and style.

Geoffery Bawa's architecture for Ruhuna[edit]

In Geoffery Bawa's architecture, the central role of geography must be a highlight.The buildings as they are conceived are influenced by the "character of the natural terrain, the vegetation, the potential for developing vistas out into the landscape and hence light and shade and of course the related and ever-present aspect of climate".In the Ruhuna campus construction are intimately tied to the topography and the territory they occupy.[16]

Rabindranath Tagore Memorial Auditorium[edit]

The Rabindranath Tagore Memorial Auditorium is the largest auditorium in any of the universities in Sri Lanka.[17][18][19][20]


Founding of the Faculties of the University of Ruhuna
Faculty Year founded

Ruhuna University College 1978
Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences 1978
Faculty of Agriculture 1978
Faculty of Science 1978
Faculty of Medicine 1980
Faculty of Engineering 1999
Faculty of Management and Finance 2003
Faculty of Fisheries and Marine Sciences and Technology 2005
Faculty of Graduate Studies 2011
Faculty of Technology 2017
Faculty of Allied Health Sciences 2017

It has ten faculties: Agriculture, Engineering, Fisheries and Marine Sciences & Technology, Humanities and Social Sciences, Management and Finance, Medicine, Science, Graduate studies , Technology and Allied Health Sciences.

The university has responded to the needs of the country and established two new faculties — 'Management and Finance' and 'Fisheries and Marine Science' — the first of its kind in Sri Lanka. Thus, the university has as many faculties as the University of Peradeniya, the largest in Sri Lanka.

The main campus is at Matara. The faculties of Engineering and Medicine are at Hapugala and Karapitiya, about 5 km from Galle city center. The Faculty of Agriculture is at Mapalana, 16 km north of Matara and 2 km south of Kamburupitiya.

University Of Ruhuna


The University of Ruhuna undertakes research, mostly with other universities, government organisations, semi-governmental organisations and non-governmental organisations. The research is funded by both Sri Lankan and foreign entities.[21][22][23][24]


The University of Ruhuna established during the same year launched Rohana, a multidisciplinary journal devoted to publishing research articles related to Applied & Natural Sciences, Management & Social Sciences, and Medical Sciences in 1985.[25] The first issue of the journal, Tropical Agricultural Research and Extension(TARE) was launched by the University of Ruhuna in 1998 followed by a government publication the Annals of the Sri Lanka Department of Agriculture in 1999, providing additional venues for publishing articles on agriculture.[26] Journal of the Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences, University of Ruhuna, commenced in 1998 providing an additional venue for research output in the area of humanities and social sciences. The University of Ruhuna publishes some of the key academic journals in the country.

  • Journal of the University of Ruhuna
  • Ruhuna Journal of Management and Finance
  • Ruhuna Journal of Science
  • Tropical Agricultural Research and Extension (TARE)
  • Rohana
  • Ruhuna Journal of Medicine
The University of Ruhuna, Northern hill


The university has 5 libraries. The Ruhuna University Library is the central research library, which holds over 0.2 million volumes. It is a legal deposit library, therefore it is entitled to request a free copy of every book published in Sri Lanka.[27][28] In addition to the University Library and its dependents, almost every faculty or department has a specialised library; for example, Agriculture, Medical, Allied Health Science and Engineering faculty libraries are at the Mapalana, Karapitiya, and Hapugala campuses.

Library, University of Ruhuna
Country Sri Lanka
Type Academic and Research
Established 1978
Location Matara
Branch of Mapalana, Karapitiya, Hapugala, Mahamodara
Branches 04
Items collected Books, journals, newspapers, magazines, sound and music recordings, Legal Deposit, databases, maps, stamps, prints, drawings and manuscripts

200,000 total Books

160,000 legal deposit
Access and use
Members 12,000
Other information
Director Ananda Karunaratne

The library holds about 200,000 books and about 300 journals (foreign and local). These resources are available in print and electronic formats. Services include reference, lending, interlibrary loan, current awareness services, workshops and maintaining library website with links to resources for which the library have subscribed as well as those available free. The library website also provides access to the CD collection and the Online Public Access catalog. According to library statistics, annual circulation of resources is more than 123,000.

Student life[edit]

Students at the University of Ruhuna run over 100 clubs and organizations. These include cultural and religious groups, academic clubs, and common-interest organizations. The Ruhuna Students' Union (RSU) is considered the highest body which represents all internal students separate student unions operate in each faculty. These student societies include:

  • Agriculture Students Union (AgSU)
  • Arts Students Union (ASU)
  • Science Students Union (SSU)
  • Engineering Students Union (ESU)
  • Medical Faculty Students' Union (MFSU)
  • Societies in the Faculty of Engineering)
    • Civil and Environmental Engineers Society (CEES)
    • Electrical and Information Engineers Society (EIES)
    • Engineering Faculty Art Circle
    • Engineering Faculty Buddhist Society
    • Mechanical Engineers Society (MES)
  • Societies in the Faculty of Science
    • Art Circle
    • Buddhist Brotherhood Faculty of Science
    • Botanical Society
    • Chemical Society
    • Computer Society University of Ruhuna (CSUR)
    • Hantana Conservation Society
    • Hindu Society
    • Mathematics Society
    • Photographic Society
    • Physical Society
    • Science Library Club
    • Tamil Sangeetha Natya Sangam
    • Tamil Society
    • University Explorers Club
    • University Geological Society
    • Zoologists' Association
  • Societies in Faculty of Management and Finance
    • Circle of Marketing
    • Circle of Accountancy
    • Circle of Human Resource Management
    • Circle of Entrepreneurship
    • Nature and Adventure Club
  • Religious Societies
    • Buddhist Brotherhood
    • Hindu Students' Union
    • Student Christian Movement
    • University Buddhist Society
    • University Muslim Majlis
  • Other Societies
    • University of Ruhuna Gavel Club
    • Sports Council
    • Student Meditation Society
    • AIESEC in Ruhuna
    • LEO Club

Faculty Students' Unions[edit]

According to the amended University Act of 1988, Section 26, students of each faculty can form the Faculty Union of all students of that faculty. The main objective of this Union is to promote academic actions of the student population and to work for the advancement and welfare of the students and the faculty.


The university is equipped with a large gymnasium which is the third best in Sri Lanka with seating capacity for 3000. Training facilities for many indoor sports activities are available here for students after 12.00 p.m. every weekday. These include:

The university playground was commissioned in 1998 and outdoor facilities for following sports are available here.

The department of physical education provides sports equipment to students for games organized by the university and for training sessions free of charge.University of Ruhuna a participator of Sri Lanka University Games.The Sri Lanka University Games are a multi-sporting event held between public universities in Sri Lanka.

Financial Aids[edit]

Each year 10 needy students from Civil and Environmental Engineering program are entitled to a special scholarship sponsored by Ceylon Steel Corporation[29]


  1. ^ "Student Enrolmentof Sri Lankan Universities" (PDF). University Grants Commission of Sri Lanka. Retrieved 23 August 2016.
  2. ^ "General information of Sri Lankan Universities" (PDF). University Grants Commission of Sri Lanka. Retrieved 23 August 2016.
  3. ^ Gunawardena, Charles A. (2005). Encyclopedia of Sri Lanka. India: Sterling Publishers Pvt. Ltd. p. 399. ISBN 1932705481.
  4. ^ Gunawardena, Chandra. "Matching education with employment in Sri Lanka." Higher Education Review 15.1 (1982): 58.
  5. ^ Yong, Zhao; Ramanathan, Hema (2010). Handbook of Asian Education: A Cultural Perspective. New York: Routledge. p. 584. ISBN 1136721290.
  6. ^ Gamage, D. Thenuwara. "Vicissitudes in the Administration of Higher Education in a Third World Country: Four Decades—Seven Reforms." Journal of Educational Administration and History 19.1 (1987): 47-61.
  7. ^ "Finance information of Sri Lankan Universities" (PDF). University Grants Commission of Sri Lanka. Retrieved 23 August 2016.
  8. ^ Saga of Nilame and Kumarihamy by Lakmal Welabada. Sunday Observer (Sri Lanka), Retrieved on 10 December 2006.
  9. ^ A Diverse, Colourful Life. Island (Sri Lanka), Retrieved on 7th January 2012.
  10. ^ AN ILLUSTRIOUS STATESMAN. Daily News, Retrieved on 7 January 2016.
  11. ^ "University Admission" (PDF). University Grants Commission. Retrieved 14 October 2016.
  12. ^
  13. ^ "geoffreybawa". Retrieved 13 April 2016.
  14. ^ Taylor, B.B.; Bawa, Geoffrey (1995). Geoffrey Bawa. Sri Lanka: Thames and Hudson. ISBN 9780500278581.
  15. ^ Robson, David. 2002. Geoffrey Bawa: The Complete Works. London: Thames & Hudson, 158-163.
  16. ^ Wickaramasinghe, N. (2005). University Space and Values Three Essays. International Center for Ethnic Studies Colombo Sri Lanka.
  17. ^
  18. ^
  19. ^
  20. ^
  21. ^ "International Collaborations". Retrieved 6 August 2017.
  22. ^ "Industrial Collaborations". Retrieved 6 August 2017.
  23. ^ "Ruhuna Journal of Medicine". Retrieved 6 August 2017.
  24. ^ "Research Studies in The field of Telecommunications with the support of Universities & Research Institutions in Sri Lanka". Retrieved 6 August 2017.
  25. ^ Yapa, Geetha. "The Historical Development of Sri Lankan Scholarly Journal Publishing (1845–2010)." Sri Lankan Journal of Librarianship and Information Management 4.3-4 (2011).
  26. ^
  27. ^ "Legal deposit". University of Ruhuna. 30 April 2005. Retrieved 25 October 2016.
  28. ^ "Legal Deposits". Department of National Archives. Archived from the original on 26 July 2016. Retrieved 23 August 2016.
  29. ^ "Ceylon Steel Cooperation offers 10 scholarships for needy students". Daily News. Retrieved 13 May 2017.

External links[edit]