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CMS College Kottayam

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The CMS College (CMS College Kottayam) is the first Western-style college in India. Having been established in 1815, it makes it India's oldest existing college, 2 years older than the erstwhile Hindu College of Bengal.


The college now has fourteen departments teaching 47 courses. There are six research centres in the college. Research work leading to the degree of Doctor of Philosophy is conducted in the departments of Botany, Zoology, Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, English, and Commerce.


CMS College Kottayam was founded by the Church Missionary Society of England, in 1815 when no institution existed in what was then the princely state of Travancore to teach English.
CMS College Kottayam was patronised by Col. John Munro, the East India Company Resident, and Dewan of Travancore. The Rev. Benjamin Bailey was the first principal. Apart from English, Greek and Latin were taught. The government of India welcomed the college as "a place of general education hence any demands of the state for officers to fill all the departments of public service would be met".
In the early years of the Old Seminary (Orthodox Pazhaya Seminary), the curriculum included the study of Latin, Greek, Hebrew, Mathematics, History, and Geography besides English, Malayalam, Sanskrit, and Syriac. In 1838, the college moved to a wooded hillock — the present site — commanding views of the distant Western Ghats. One of the oldest buildings in the campus is Room 52, or the "Grammar School", as it was originally called. A college magazine in Malayalam was started in 1864 by Principal Richard Collins, after whom the college library is named.
In 1857 the college was affiliated to Madras University soon after its incorporation, and the college began to present students for the Matriculation examination. It provided free education to all its students until 1855 when the fee of one Rupee per month per student was collected. The number of students in 1870 was 129. In 1880, Visakham Thirunal, Maharaja of Travancore, observed on a visit to the college: "Long before the state undertook the humanizing task of educating the subjects, the Christian Missionaries had raised the beacon of knowledge in the land".
In 1840, the number of students in the College was 220. In 1890, two-year classes were started, and the first batch of students, initially all men, was presented for the F.A. Examination in 1892. Female students were not admitted to the college until 1938. In 1950, Degree classes were started, and by 1960 the number of students in the college had risen to 1,250. Postgraduate classes were started in 1959. The college is now affiliated to Mahatma Gandhi University, Kottayam. In 1981, the Synod of the Church of South India transferred the management of the college to the C. S. I. Madhya Kerala Diocese.
In 1999 the college was accredited by the National Assessment and Accreditation Council with five-star status. In 2004 the University Grants Commission accorded it the status of College with Potential for Excellence. In 2009, the CMS English department celebrated the Golden Jubilee of the introduction of a postgraduate programme.

Notable alumni

  • K. R. Narayanan, former President of India
  • K. P. S. Menon, first Indian Foreign Secretary after independence
  • Paulose II, Malankara Metropolitan and Catholicos of he Malankara Church
  • K. M. Panikkar, former ambassador to China
  • E. C. G Sudharshan, physicist
  • Jacob Chandy, neurosurgeon
  • K. T. Thomas, former Judge of the Supreme Court of India
  • Unni R., Short story writer, Novelist, Screenplay writer.
  • K. M. Mathew, former chief Editor of Malayala Manorama
  • John Abraham, Film director and writer.
  • G. Aravindan, Film director and music director.
  • Oommen Chandy, Former Chief Minister of Kerala.
  • Kavalam Narayana Panikkar, poet, dramatist
  • Kadammanitta Ramakrishnan, Poet.
  • Prem Prakash,Actor and Producer
  • Jayaraj Film director
  • B. Unnikrishnan, filmmaker and writer.
  • Sooraj S. Kurup,Music director
  • Anupama Parameswaran, Actress
  • Kummanam Rajasekharan, Former Mizoram Governor, Former BJP State President
  • Suresh Kurup, MLA.
  • Anwar Abdullah, Novelist.

See also

  • Scott Christian College
  • Henry Baker College, Melukavu
  • Christian College, Kattakada
  • University College Thiruvananthapuram

External links

  • CMS College, panoramic view
  • New book partly set in CMS College, Kottayam
  • CMS College Kottayam wikimapia

Category:Arts and Science colleges in Kerala
Category:Universities and colleges in Kottayam
Category:Universities and colleges affiliated with the Church of South India
Category:Colleges affiliated to Mahatma Gandhi University, Kerala
Category:Educational institutions established in 1817
Category:1817 establishments in India
Category:Academic institutions formerly affiliated with the University of Madras
Category:CMS College Kottayam alumni

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