In its 175th year, the MCC continues to be a beacon of light with its lofty principles, guiding men and women in their educational pursuits.
An institution that has become synonymous with liberal education in this part of the country, the Madras Christian College, Tambaram, is at an epochal moment in its long history since it was founded in 1837. Straddling three centuries separated by the days of the East India Company to the smart phone era, MCC has taken the vicissitudes of time in its stride and is as committed to academic excellence and personality development as it was at its inception.
With the theme for the 175th year celebrations being ‘Celebrating history, Serving humanity', the principal, management, staff and students of the institution are striving with a vision to ensure the institution grows further. “We will be celebrating the 175th year of founding of MCC and 75th year of moving into the Tambaram campus. The alumni around the world are involved in the celebrations and actively raising funds to build the auditorium,” says principal Alexander Jesudassan. The vision for MCC is two-pronged: academic innovation and infrastructure development. This will be implemented without deviating from the original founding principles of MCC.
MCC kick-started its quartoseptcentennial celebrations on January 7, 2012, with an inaugural worship programme. Robert Willis, Dean of Canterbury, U.K., presided over the worship and blessed the glorious institution. It was Scottish missionaries who founded the MCC and therefore it was apt that he would bless the institution at the worship service. Also present on the occasion was Canon Ivor Smith-Cameron, former Chaplain to the Queen, U.K. To mark the occasion, a three-day exhibition on the history and heritage of the college was organised.
Located on 365 acres of sylvan scrub jungle in Tambaram, the college today has 6,000 students and 32 academic departments. The college union office-bearers and the core committee members (created for the 175th celebrations) are working round the clock to ensure that they organise two events per month throughout the year. The celebrations will culminate in a grand alumni meeting during the last week of December 2012.
The MCC has the pride of having well-balanced biodiversity on its campus. This tropical dry evergreen natural vegetation is one of the few green patches found on the east coast of India. The forest was allowed to regenerate naturally by giving simple protection. The campus has 150 species of birds and 75 species of butterflies listed.
“MCC provides liberal arts education to the youth of the country. The vision revolves around academic excellence, spiritual vitality and social relevance,” said Dr. Jesudassan, as he outlined the aims and objectives of the founders, whose values continue to drive this great institution. On how this vision is translated into action today, the principal said the college management encouraged introduction of new courses.
“Expanding and improving the infrastructural facilities and empowering the downtrodden are some of the needs envisioned by the founders in their mission for the college,” Dr. Jesudassan said.
The big leap in student strength in recent years has been made possible with the introduction of new courses through the self-financing stream. Dr. Jesudassan said students preferred MCC for its liberal arts education and former students chose to send their children to their alma mater.
“By offering self-financing courses since 1999 and infrastructural development and academic innovations, we have attracted students from all over the country and abroad, which has resulted in this transformation,” Dr. Jesudassan observed.
Elaborating on the importance of institutions such as MCC at a time when most young men and women preferred to take a short cut to careers by enrolling in professional courses, Dr. Jesudassan said the college continued to attract students from all over the country and abroad for its distinctive feature of designing studies that would result in the holistic development of an individual with adequate leadership qualities.
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa will be the Guest of Honour at the 175th Graduation and College Day to be held on April 11. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and many other Cabinet Ministers, distinguished former students who had excelled in various walks of life will be taking part in different events to be held in the year-long celebrations. An international conference on higher education would also be held at the college, according to Dr. Jesudassan.