Disce aut discede
The motto of Royal College gives the youth of the school motivation more than anything else. This motto is what creates the spirit of the school in the minds of students.
A bronze Plaque above the stone engraving at the main entrance to the present College building reads thus;
These stones have been preserved from the original building of the COLOMBO ACADEMY founded in 1835 which institution subsequently became the ROYAL COLLEGE.
The motto stated here is “Disce Aut Discede” – Learn or Depart.
The first mention of the Motto is during the regime of Principal Todd (1871-1878) who constantly reminded the students that they must learn or get out. However, exactly who gave the motto to the school is not recorded. The files of the Schools Commission or the Department of Instruction, or the Public Administration Reports make no mention of the Motto. Reminiscences written by old boys from 1893 onwards do not make any mention of friends who have departed for not learning these 175 years. Records only show that the vast majority have learnt and departed bringing credit to the college.