Birth Commemoration of Prof. Evan Alan Hardy

While Professor Evan Alan Hardy was attached to the University of Saskatchewan, he was appointed as the UN - Food and Agriculture Organization Advisor to the Government of Ceylon from the year 1951. With leave of absence from the University, he assumed duties at the Maha Illuppalama Agricultural, Station, located in the North Central Province of Sri Lanka.

His age was 63 years, an age when lesser men would have opted for relaxed, retired, life-but the Frofessor was made of better material. Little did he realize at that time; the impact he will make on the lives of hundreds of young Srilankans in the future, by his decision to continue - working in Sri Lanka. There were several similarities in the ground conditions of Dry Zone farming in Sri Lanka and that of prairie forming in Canada, which enabled the professor to contribute from his past experience, to the project at Maha Illuppalama.

It was during this same period the Gal Oya Development Project, a massive Land Development, Irrigation and Agricultural Project was started in the Eastern Province of Sri Lanka. The Gal Oya Development Board or GODB, which was responsible for project Management and implementation was faced with the Crucial requirement of recruiting a sufficient number of trained and capable Technical officers for implementation of its development plans. The few officers who were available in the country did not show an inclination to work in the undeveloped areas. The solution was to train its own officers by setting up a Technical Training Institute (T.T.I.) in the Gal Oya Valley.

The G.O.D.B. took the decision, to handover the setting - up of the T.T.I. to Professor Hardy, who gladly accepted this challenge and with dedication and hard work started building the T.T.I. from scratch.

Prof. Hardy meticulously planned all that was required for the Institute. He was available for the students 24 hours of the day. He looked in to the Personal needs of both the students and the staff. He had a solution for all problems. He was loving and helpful, but always remained firm. He was not satisfied with training the students only, but keenly followed upon how his graduates were performing in their place of work and visited them regularly.

He opened the Institute to the Gal Oya Development Board and whatever, other Government Institutions that required assistance in training. He formulated short term courses for the G.O.D.B. personnel from the craftsmen to the Engineer. He also made regular visit to the rural areas and advised the farmers. These were undertaken over and above his task of conducting the main work for which he received no remuneration.

His dear wife was a great source of strength to him. She played an important role as foster mother and advisor to all students of the Institute. She along with professor kept an open - house and encouraged students and staff to visit them. They both knew each student and staff member (from labourer to the Registrar) by name. They knew each person's family background and hence assisted each one according to their needs.

Prof. Hardy became a household name in the Gal Oya Valley. But finally on a sunny day, 4th Dec. 1963, he was called back by "God" and rested in peace.

Thereafter a monument was erected at the place, where he was cremated in the Institute premises and it remains as the land mark of his memory. However, his spirit lives on - students who walk through the portals of the Institute even now miraculously breathe his spirit and pay obeisance to him.

Further to this, while Canada recognized him by naming a school as Evan. A Hardy Collegiate school, and a laboratory of the Saskatchewan university as the 'Hardy Laboratory of Agriculture Engineering,' the Government of Sri Lanka has named the Institute after his name and is now called "Hardy Advanced Institute of Technology" Hardy Alumni Association has named its complex at Ratmalana as "Evan A Hardy Centre."

Our fervent hope for the future is to maintain the name 'Hardy’ to this Institute only, which was raised by Prof. Evan A. Hardy as a mark of respect to him for his greatest deeds in producing engineers of all fields of engineering and agriculture for the development of Sri Lanka.

As gratitude and honour to his greatest deeds, the Old Hardians and Students Council of the Hardy Institute have organized the under mentioned functions on the following dates to mark his birth anniversary towards the end of this month.

Present Boys of the Hardy Institute:-

On 30th Sept. 2012 - A Home for the Aged will be cleaned, bathing of inmates and 'dana' will be given.

1st Oct. 2012 - 'Bana' at Hardy Institute and a Bodhi Puja at the Ampara Temple.

7th Oct. 2012 - Hardy Alumni Association members will also carry out cleaning, provide various requirements and 'Dana' to the Inmates of "Gangodavilla Mahalu Nivasaya".

Colonel W.D.Samarasena V,Patron/

President.Hardy Alumni Association,( 1958-1969 Batch)

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