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Press Release

Contact: Matt Lane



Summerdale, Pa., September 2, 2005 – Dilip Abayasekara, Special Assistant to the President of Central Pennsylvania College has been elected President of Toastmasters International. He is now the top officer of the world's leading organization devoted to teaching skills in public speaking and leadership.

Dr. Abayasekara—an active Toastmaster for may years—was elected for a one-year term at the organization's 74th Annual International Convention, held August 24-27 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Abayasekara has been with Central Penn for 6 years. His work with the College includes writing speeches, coaching, emceeing events, leading and contributing to teams, and coordinating strategic planning. His accomplishments include starting a Toastmasters club on the Central Penn campus as well as an annual oratorical contest for the College’s students. Abayasekara also founded a “Student Leadership Training Institute” (SLTI) for the purpose of teaching student leaders the fundamentals of effective leadership. The SLTI offers many opportunities to encourage student leaders to visit the campus Toastmasters club—and join it. 

A native of Colombo, Sri Lanka, Abayasekara attended college in the U.S., eventually earning a Ph.D. in chemistry. After working for 12 years as an industrial scientist, he surrendered to his avocation – connecting with and enriching others through the power of the spoken word. He says he used to dread public speaking, but that overcoming that fear led the increased self-confidence, which in turn spurred him on to conquer other obstacles. “Toastmasters International is full of people who have achieved results beyond their wildest dreams,” he says. “We help people gain the skills and confidence to be the best they can be in whatever they choose to do.” As a result, Abayasekara’s motto for his term in office is “Find Your Voice. Serve Your World.”

Since its founding in 1924, Toastmasters International has taught more than four million men and women how to become better speakers and leaders. Headquartered in Rancho Santa Margarita, California, the nonprofit organization has approximately 211,000 members in 10,500 clubs in 90 countries. Most cities have several Toastmasters clubs that meet at different times and locations during the week.

Central Pennsylvania College, a leader in career education since 1881, offers bachelor and associate degrees in the fields of business administration, criminal justice, information technology, communications, graphic design, healthcare, and legal services. The College’s new Lancaster Center offers bachelor degree completion programs to benefit adults and two-year college graduates living in that area. Central Penn attributes its high rate of student success to a caring faculty and the College's hands-on learning approach. Ninety percent of Central Penn graduates are working in their chosen field or continuing their education within one year of graduation. To learn more about Central Pennsylvania College, visit


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