St. Thomas’ College, Thrissur, which has produced many eminent personalities in an array of fields, is turning 90. A landmark educational institution in Kerala, the college has played a prominent role in the State’s social, political and economic development. The rich list of alumni includes Chief Ministers, Union ministers, scientists, educationalists and literary figures.
It was on the campus of St. Thomas’ College that, on October 14, 1927, Gandhiji called for the participation of students of in the erstwhile Cochin state in the freedom struggle. The whole-hearted support provided by this first Catholic college in State to its students to be part of the nation’s battle, spawned a legion of prominent political leaders. Panampilly Govinda Menon (former Chief Minister of Travancore-Cochin), E.M.S. Namboodiripad (the first Chief Minister of Kerala), C. Achyutha Menon (former Chief Minister), N.K. Seshan (former Speaker and Finance minister) are some of them. Literary critics such as Prof. M.P. Paul, Prof. Joseph Mundassery and Prof. Sankaran Nambiar were the products of St. Thomas’.
“I learnt the basics of socialism and Communism from St. Thomas’ College,” the late EMS once said. He had first read books on socialism from the college library. The library gave the intellectual impetus to many key developments in Kerala’s post-Independence history.
“Even when started as a lower secondary school in 1889, the founder, the first Vicar Apostolic of Thrissur, Adolphus Edwin Medlycott, named it St. Thomas’ College. He must have foreseen the future of the institution,” said Msgr. Raphael Thattil, manager of the college. In 1919, it was raised to a second grade college in arts, affiliated to the University of Madras. The growth of the college to the present position — with 17 academic departments, four research centres and hundreds of faculty members and thousands of students — has been spectacular.
“More than an education centre, this is a transformation centre,” said Msgr. Thattil.