Admiral Daya Sandagiri, RSP, VSV, USP, rcds, psc,
MSc(DS), FIMgt(UK), MNI(Lond), MRIN(Lond),
Justice of the Peace (Sri Lanka)

Admiral Daya Sandagiri was appointed as the 4th Chancellor of General Sir John Kotelawala Defence University with effect from November 9, 2015 and he is the first Naval Officer who is considered to the chair of the Chancellor of KDU.

Admiral Daya Sandagiri joined the renowned Naval and Maritime Academy in Trincomalee with the first batch of Naval Cadets on July 1, 1969 and was commissioned in the Executive Branch as a Sub Lieutenant on July 1, 1973. Admiral Sandagiri has achieved many firsts in his distinguished, decorative and unblemished naval career. As a young officer, he followed his specialized training with the Indian Navy in 1974. His outstanding performance in Naval Gunnery earned him his first commendation from the Commander of the Navy.

Admiral Sandagiri graduated from the Defence Services Staff College in India in 1984. He obtained Masters of Science from the University of Madras in the same year. He was the first naval officer to attend post graduate studies at the world renowned Royal College of Defence Studies in the United Kingdom in 1996. He was promoted to the ranks of Commander and Captain in 1985 and 1989 respectively. He earned one-star rank of Commodore in 1992 and was made a Rear Admiral in 1996. He became a Vice Admiral in 2001 and was promoted to the four-star rank of an Admiral in 2005.

Admiral Sandagiri, a bluejacket enlisted in the Regular Force in the then Royal Ceylon Navy on November 14, 1966 is considered the most experienced salt ever to assume duties as the Commander of the Navy and eventually reach the high command of the military as the Chief of Defence Staff. With a distinguished career of 39 years and 7 months to his credit on his retirement on June 12, 2006, he is also the longest served in the naval history of the country.

Her Excellency Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumarathunga as the President of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka commended the untiring efforts of Admiral Sandagiri as the Chief of Defence Staff during Tsunami that struck the country in 2004. In recognition of his conspicuous bravery displayed during the height of the war in the face of the enemy, he has been awarded the Gallantry Medal of the Rana Sura Padakkama.

Born on September 1, 1947, he had his education at St. Mary’s College, Veyangoda and Kegalle Maha Vidyalaya, Kegalle. His past times include reading, study of maritime developments and technology, social work and engage in religious welfare. Admiral Sandagiri is married to Pearl, who has been a strength and support to him all along. She has been a livewire of the Sri Lanka Navy Seva Vanitha Unit and has rendered invaluable services for over 25 years. They are blessed with two sons, Yasiru and Chathura.

Academic Achievements

  • Graduated from the Defence Services Staff College in India.
  • Obtained Masters of Science from the University of Madras.
  • Attend post graduate studies at the world renowned Royal College of Defence Studies in the United Kingdom.
  • Elected a Fellow of the Chartered Management Institute in the United Kingdom that recognizes excellent management and leadership skills of personalities all over the world.
  • Appointed as a Justice of the Peace for Sri Lanka.
  • Represented the country, office of the Chief of Defence Staff and Sri Lanka Navy at numerous conferences and seminars at prestigious institutions all over the world on matters pertaining to military, naval and maritime strategies.
  • Accomplished the rare honour and privilege of addressing the members of the National and International Security Programme at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at the world acclaimed Harvard University in the United States of America.

Medals and decorations

  • Vishista Seva Vibhushanaya,
  • Utthama Seva Padakkama,
  • Republic of Sri Lanka Armed Services Medal,
  • Sri Lanka Armed Services Long Service Medal and Clasp,
  • President’s Inauguration Medal,
  • Sri Lanka Navy 50th Anniversary Medal and Clasp,
  • 50th Independence Anniversary Commemoration Medal,
  • North & East Operations Medal and Clasp,
  • Purna Bhumi Padakkama, Vadamarachchi Operation Medal
  • Riviresa Campaign Service Medal.

Appointments held

  • Made his contribution to the nation as a seafarer by serving on board vessels of the Ceylon Shipping Corporation and Ceylon Petroleum Corporation at crucial junctures.
  • Commanding Officer and Surveillance Command Squadron Commander SLNS Wickrama.
  • Director Naval Operations at Naval Headquarters.
  • Commander Western Naval Command.
  • Commander Southern Naval Command.
  • Commander Eastern Naval Command.
  • Commander Northern Naval Command.

Additional Appointments held and Contribution to the Nation

  • Appointed as the President of the Sri Lanka Navy Buddhist Association.
  • Was instrumental in the construction of a temple with the tri-disciplines at Dhambakolapatuna in Jaffna where King Devanampiyatissa received the “Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi”.
  • Constructed a Shrine Room along with a Pilgrim’s Rest and an Accommodation Block at Tiriyaya historical temple in 2003.
  • Was the Chairman of the Sri Lanka Navy Sports Board and Defence Services Sports Board.
  • Played a decisive role in the edification of sports in the Sri Lanka Navy and the Defence Services.
  • Had the privilege of affiliating the Sri Lanka Defence Services into the World Military Sports Body, popularly known as CISM.
  • Was the senior Vice President of the National Volleyball Federation that, Volleyball was made the National Sport of Sri Lanka.
  • Had a stint as the President of the National Basket Ball Federation.