The 49th Death Anniversary of Professor Evan Alan Hardy was yesterday. I knew nothing of the man till yesterday until I read up on what he has contributed to Sri Lanka’s Education, most especially as the Founder of the “Hardy Advanced Technological Institute” in Ampara on 15th January 1956.
This boy born in 1st October 1890 in Sioux City, Iowa and raised on a farm, who at age 61 when a Professor of the University of Saskatchewan in Canada, was sent as an UN/FAO adviser to the Department of Agriculture in Sri Lanka in 1951. He was selected to organize and develop a program of training and set up a Technical Training Institute in Ampara to produce the engineers to operate the development program in the Gal Oya Valley.
He commenced diploma courses in
Surveying and Leveling
I quote from the web site of the Hardy Institute
“ This program which Prof. Hardy compared to the Tennesse Valley Authority took on the task of irrigation, supplying electricity, improving agriculture techniques, protecting against floods, developing roads, cities and villages in the 1200 square mile area in the historic Digamadulla region.”
For someone who headed the Department of Agricultural Engineering in the University of Saskatchewan for 25 years to come here and dedicate the rest of his life is no mean achievement even now, so hats off to a man who was able to bring his expertise and contribute so much to the development of Sri Lanka, when so many of our young minds who get their education here, go to the very same country to contribute to their growth and development forsaking their motherland, which to them does not give them the opportunity in life that they seek, desire and wish for their children.
Of course he wanted his Institute to be the basis of a Technical University, which has yet to take place, however it produces a significant number of diploma holders in various fields and most of all has provided short term courses for specialists in development projects of an Irrigation, Hydroelectric and Agricultural Engineering fields both for the Gal Oya scheme but also for later development projects including that of the Mahaweli Scheme.
It is worth noting that he came to this country during DS Senanayake’s tenure as Prime Minister, and we owe a debt of gratitude to him too for attracting such able people to our shores to devote their lives to the future of this land.