St. Sylvester’s began as a separate institution on 1 November 1940 with very Rev. Fr. D. Robert. Perera O.S.B. as the principal. The college owed its inception to the foresight of his Lordship Bishop Bernardo Regno O.S.B. and Abbot Weerasinghe, the heads of the Sylvestro-Benedictine congregation. They felt that a good catholic school in Kandy town was a prime need, once St. Anthony’s had been completely shifted to its home on the banks of the Mahaweli at Katugastota. Rev father Robert was given the tremendous task of rearing the new that had just been born. St. Sylvester’s had made name for itself in the field of education, not only in Kandy but also throughout the length and breadth of the island. Starting with a mere 250 pupils and 12 teachers in 1940.
Father Robert was not expected to do big things at St. Sylvester’s. The buildings were not teeming with scholars, the laboratories were empty, and libraries were without books. Even the wherewithal to run the school was not available. It is said that he had to start with an over draft, but the picture of the institution now is a very different one. It is full to capacity, and its financial stability is assured. The authoritarian of the Sylvestro-Benedictines intended originally to develop St. Sylvester’s only as a junior school and affiliated to St. Anthony’s but such restrictions were not dampen the ardour of Father Robert. He early had visions of his institution as a collegiate school, second to none in the Island.