Life at Royal
Learnt of books and learnt of men, through thee we’ll do the same
True to our watchword “Disce Aut Discede”
We will learn of books and men, and learn to play the game
When Hill Street Academy was founded in January 1831 by Rev. Joseph Marsh, it housed 20 students. Recognizing the need of a liberal education for their children, Hill Street Academy was abolished and in January 1835 the foundation stone was laid to a new educational institute. The Colombo Academy came into existence with Rev. Marsh as its first Principal.
In 1881, August, the official title of the Institution was changed to Royal College and its foundation saw new premises at Thurstan Road Colombo.”Disce Aut Discede”
The motto that inspires every Royalist to learn of books and men and learn to play the game. “Departure” is only on completion of the mission and never by compulsion of failure to “learn”. It is the watchword to the students that their studies are of primary importance. It symbolic of the stringent discipline that it instills in its products, to excel in every sphere, to bring glory to their beloved alma-mater.The College Song
Composed in 1927 by Principal H.L. Reed, provides inspiration, reverence and fosters an attachment in the hearts of Royalists. The words “learnt of books” refer not only to the limited subject matter of the text books but to the liberal education from reading outside the subjects taught in school. The expression “learnt to play the game” portrays the importance of true sportsmanship rather than merely acquiring skill and prowess. Sports teach values that cannot be taught in the classroom. Healthy rivalry without the thought of winning at any cost is the most important lesson to be learnt in the field of sports. The true spirit of sportsmanship and brotherhood moulds character and an awareness of what is right and what is not.
Flourish under the Flag of Blue and Gold
“As a part of the same scheme I have had the College Flag embroidered with the college Crest. I hope that the Flag will serve as a symbol of devotion owed by every Royalist past and present to his school. A school that is worth anything must impress on its boys, a sense of loyalty and devotion and I hope that this Flag will help to produce in all Royal College Boys a sense of loyalty to their College, keep their Flag flying as the proud symbol of the best school in Ceylon.” – Principal Sampson, 1924. The colors of Royal Gold and Blue introduced in 1877 by Principal Todd portrayed the imperial colors of Britain.
Royal College crest bears the distinct letters ‘RC’ which are symbolic of brotherhood, unity and identification. The logo unifies Royalists across the globe, on land and sea and connects at the central point of its alma-mater.
Each aspect in it gives meaning to what it is to be Royal; the crown of the kings symbolizes royalty while the shield with the elephant and palm trees in the center surrounded laurel wreaths symbolize Strength and Prosperity. The words “FLOREAT” stands for itself in portraying in prompting to “flourish” and “Disce Aut Discede” echoes the school motto of “learn or depart”.
Today, 177 years later, Royal College stands majestically over 8400 students each year who lovingly refer to Royal College as “Mother Royal”. The student population of the College has evolved as a microcosm of the Sri Lankan population, with children from all races, religions, all walks of life rubbing shoulders with each other.
Twin pillars of strength
Royal College Union (RCU) being the old boy’s arm of Royal College was established in 1891. The Union played its part in no small measure to make Royal College what it is today. Playing the multiple roles of past pupil, guardian, parent, friend and sibling, the RCU since its inception, has been nurturing Royal College to become the country’s premier institution in the primary and secondary education system. The dedication, devotion and the commitment of the alumnus abundantly reflect their love, affection and heart for ‘Mother Royal’. They consider it an opportunity to “re-pay” the debt they owe to their school, for making them what they are today. The Royal College Union, affectionately and commonly known as the RCU, perhaps stands supreme among others, in the enormity of its contribution to the school, and exemplary amongst past pupil fraternities.