2019 Sep 2
He was, at one point the face of the Sri Lankan medical industry appearing on TV whenever we needed clarification. When he passed away on the 2nd of September 2019 Professor Carlo Fonseka left a legacy that many will admire but only a few will be able to surpass.
Professor Carlo Fonseka was a former dean of the Faculty of Medicine, University of Kelaniya and a former president of the Sri Lanka Medical Council (SLMC). His passion for activism is what brought his to the forefront but that was not what sealed his position in our collective psyche. As long and impressive as his academic career was, Professor Carlo was a sensitive soul who tested the waters of music and shared his experience with us.
Professor Carlo Fonseka was born on the 4th of March 1933 in Colombo and was later schooled in Maris Stella College, Negombo and St. Joseph’s College, Colombo. His studied at the University of Ceylon’s Faculty of Medicine set him up for a career that would have a big impact on is life. He continued his studies at the University of Edinburgh’s Department of Physiology and emerged with a Ph.D in 1966.
He returned to the country in 1967 to join the University of Ceylon’s Department of Physiology and later joined the Faculty of Medicine, University of Kelaniya, where he proceeded to serve as its dean till 1997. In 2012 he was appointed as the President of the Sri Lanka Medical Council.
Professor Fonseka was also a member of the Lanka Sama Samaja Party later becoming its President.
Amidst all the responsibilities he had as a doctor and political activist Professor Fonseka also held quite a few illustrious positions while serving Sri Lanka and its people. At one point in time he was the President of the Arts Council of Sri Lanka, the Chairman of the National Authority on Tobacco and alcohol. He was also a member of the University Grants Commission.
What sets this wonderful human being apart though was his contribution to the arts as a lyricist with his song Raththaran Duwe being a truly timeless classic.
This world is not our permanent home and we all come and go but there are certain people who make a mark that transcends their lives and Professor Carlo Fonseka’s story is a testament to the greatness within us all. His remains will be handed ver to the the Ragama Medical Faculty, as per his wil. He will forever be missed but we can all take comfort in the fact that his life on earth was a life lived well.