A mentor and guide. The two words best describe what Dr Anil Wilson — an educationist and former principal of St Stephen’s College — was to several people he met and associated with during an academic career spanning more than three decades.
Dr Wilson (61) passed away on Thursday morning at his residence in New Delhi.
He was fighting a protracted battle with pancreatic cancer, a disease occurring rarely in humans.
Known for his quick wit and sense of humour, Wilson left an indelible impression on students and teachers of St. Stephen’s College, where he served as principal for 16 years from 1991 to 2007.
Apart from being an ace administrator, he is fondly remembered by the alumni and teachers of the college for his democratic and liberal ways — a trait that led him to turn the male-bastion reputation of the college on its head.
“St. Stephen’s College till one time did not admit female students in courses such as BA (Pass) and BSc (pass). We as students had petitioned him to change this and it was during Dr. Wilson’s time that the male bastion was breached and female students were admitted to these courses for the first time,” said Barkha Dutt, managing editor, NDTV, and alumni of the college.
“He also set the ball rolling for introducing residence facilities for the girls in college,” she added.
Wilson has also received many awards from various organisations and bodies.
His association with academics began very early as Wilson was born to a school headmaster.
His father MM Wilson was the principal of Gorton Mission School in Kotgarh in Himachal Pradesh.
Educated at St Edward’s School in Shimla, he went on to pursue a BSc degree from DAV College in Amritsar and then his MA, Mhil and Phd from Himachal Pradesh University (HPU).
Wilson started teaching in 1971. He also served as the Vice-Chancellor of HPU for a year.
“He was brilliant and it showed during his Phd research. He was quick on the uptake. He could build easily on bits of information provided to him,” said Professor Som Ranchan (77), who was his PhD guide at Himachal University. His PhD was on the works of Yiddish author Isaac Bashevis Singer.
“His wit, sense of humour and enthusiasm made him quite popular with students at the university. These qualities helped him teach lesson like no one could,” added Ranchan.
Dr Wilson is survived by his wife, a son and a daughter.
Anil Wilson’s wife Rita Wilson was the deputy secretary at the Council for The Indian School Certificate Examination, which is the largest national school board after CBSE, for eight years.