The 80th Convocation of the University of Peradeniya (UoP) was held at the UoP Gymnasium, presided over by its Chancellor, on Thursday (5). The late Dr Dharmasena Pathiraja was posthumously awarded the Doctor of Literature by UoP Chancellor Prof Kingsley M.de Silva. The citation for the Doctorate delivered by the Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Prof O.G. Dayaratne, stated, "The untimely demise of Dr Pathiraja is an irreparable loss to the country on a number of fronts, but his work and influence will remain a guiding light to the spectrum of creative artistes, scholars and cinema audiences, for years to come." Professor Dayaratne said, "His translation of Juan Rulfo's novel 'Pedro Paramo', won the Best Tranaslation into Sinhala, at the State Literary Awards 2013. He is a poet, short story writer and scholar, and an organic intellectual who has made a distinctive and indelible impact on the cultural ethos of Sri Lanka."
Dr Pathiraja graduated with Honours in 1967 from the University of Ceylon, Peradeniya, in Sinhala and Western Classical Culture as his subsidiary subject. He obtained his MA in Sinhala in the field of Drama, from the UoP in 1992 and obtained a PhD in Cinema Studies, from Monash University, Australia, in 1999. Of the 3,444 Degrees awarded, the Faculty of Arts received the highest with 831, while the Dental Faculty received the lowest with 79. There were 881 Postgraduate Degrees awarded. Earlier, the traditional oil lamp was lit by UoP Chancellor Prof Kingsley M. de Silva and UoP Vice Chancellor Prof Upul B. Dissasnayke. Jayamanagala Gatha was sung by UoP undergraduates of the Faculty of Fine Arts.