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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2706

Remembering Professor Sudatta Ranasinghe

By Nalin Abeysekera - Senior Lecturer, Open University of Sri Lanka

We are always talking about the need of intellectuals for the country and for the development of the country. An intellectual can be defined as “a person possessing a highly developed intellect”.

Yet many who claim to be “intellectuals” are not actual intellectuals. How can we assess the person who possesses intellectual attributes or characteristics? Then our minds turn effortlessly to Professor Sudatta Ranasinghe who passed away on 10th of May 2013. He created a special niche in the subject domain of “Management” in Sri Lanka by his immense contribution as an academic, mentor and a friend.

Professor Sudatta Ranasinghe was a Senior Professor of Management in the Department of Management Studies at the Open University of Sri Lanka (OUSL). He has contributed to the Department in many ways such as curriculum development and revision, designing and launching of new programmes(IPM-OUSL MBA etc), development of academic programmes, teaching at postgraduate level, supervision and examination of research, and assisting the department in the professional development of academic staff. In fact he was the mentor for many young academics in the department.

He also served as a Dean, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences at OUSL from October 2004 to October 2007 and was involved in providing academic and administrative leadership to the faculty comprising four academic departments and assisting the Vice Chancellor in the management of the university. He contributed to the senate as well as to other boards at OUSL.

Professor Ranasinghe who was a product of the University of Sri Jayewardenepura, commenced his career as a Research Officer at Marga Institute (Sri Lanka Centre for Development Studies) on 1st June 1972. Then he joined the Sri Lanka Foundation Institute as a senior lecturer .

Finally he joined OUSL from the Postgraduate Institute of Management (PIM), University of Sri Jayewardenepura. His contribution at the national level also could be seen in many disciplines. He contributed towards the development of policy and practice of human resources and institutional development in the public sector, promoting administrative reforms at the sub-national level and re-structuring of some of the large public sector institutions. Even in private sector his contribution as a consultant and advisor can be highlighted. He was the Recipient of PIM Alumni Association Annual Award for Distinguished Service to Society in December 2000.

He has published well over thirty research articles in many international and national journals. He was also an author of many books including “Managing in a Developing Context- Sri Lankan Perspectives”, 'Research in Management: A Guide to Practice,(with Professor Mangala Fonseka) . approach. He lectured in many public and private Universities in Sri Lanka and students at all levels hailed his fluency and sharpness in language as well as his friendly approach. Professor Ranasinghe traveled extensively to represent Sri Lanka at research and education conferences.

A lovable person of many talents his deep voice rang out when he sang songs of M.S. Fernando. He used to recall with nostalgia how together with late Sugathapala Silva(his friend “Sugathe)” created some dramas in late seventies and early eighties and took them to certain villages . He enjoyed University life and was always keen to meet people from all walks of life with his friends. These reflections from many facets of the society helped his achievements in leadership and management of people with heart, mind and soul.

He struggled with his illness for nearly fifteen months. A devout follower of the teachings of the Buddha , his determination, commitment and courage could be seen in the way he faced the disease which crippled him, the same way he met all the challenges in life.

Professor Ranasinghe was the loving husband of late announcer of SLBC Chithra Yapa Bandara. The following has been extracted from one appreciation he has documented in a national newspaper about his wife in September 2003.

“A note she wrote a few months before her death, which was distributed among those who attended her funeral carried her last message: "Do not waste your great sensual virtues as a human being. Be mindful and righteous if you wish to make your journey in samsara a short one.”

Professor Sudatta Ranasighe's loving son Isura and daughter-in-law Sewvandhi always provided him the much needed physical and mental support till the last.

If someone is interested in writing an essay on Sri Lankan Management education in the last fifty years Professor Sudatta Ranasinghe will be topping the list as an intellectual par excellence.

We at the OUSL miss our colleague, teacher and mentor. May you attain Nibbana!

- Asian Tribune -

Professor Sudatta Ranasinghe
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