St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai, is named after St. Francis Xavier, a Jesuit saint of the 16th century who travelled to India. The Society of Jesus, a Christian religious group started by St. Ignatius of Loyola in 1540, founded the college. The intellectual endeavour it strives for, focuses on critical and creative thinking, with the aim of social transformation.
The college has a provision for admitting children from the marginalised sections of society and it seeks to give an all-round formation, inculcating both human and spiritual values.
The Society of Jesus exercises responsibility over St. Xavier’s College through a governing body whose chairman is the Provincial of the Bombay Province of the Society. It’s vice-chairman is the rector of the college, while its secretary and chief executive is the principal. In 2007, the college got the highest rating (A+) in the re-accreditation by the NAAC, an autonomous body linked to the University Grants Commission of India.
The first students of the college were a group of six who appeared for the University Matriculation examination in 1868 from St. Mary’s Institution. The first three graduates of the college received their degrees in 1871.
St. Xavier’s College has produced some of the most famous names in India. Alumni include Sunil Gavaskar, Zubin Mehta, Rajdeep Sardesai, Shabana Azmi, Kavita Krishnamurthy, Ismail Merchant, Shobha De, Cyrus Broacha, Zakir Hussain and Vidya Balan.
Studies and activities
On January 30, 1869, the college became affiliated to the University of Bombay. It was entrusted by the University with the task of preparing students for degrees in arts, science and commerce. The college is best known for its arts stream. It offers various courses from junior college to post-graduate level.
The active students’ council began as a college committee in 1943. It was changed to the Students’ Union Council, when the university made elections mandatory in colleges. However, for the past 20 years, the Maharashtra government has banned student elections on campus and the council is now nominated by the principal from among those who apply for the post of student representative. They then choose their own officials.
St. Xavier’s also has various departments and organisations apart from the regular academic ones, such as the department of inter-religious studies, the Indian Music Group, the counselling centre and the Social Service League. The college is also known for its inter-collegiate festival Malhar, usually held in August.
St. Xavier’s has one of the most beautiful campuses among Mumbai colleges, boasting an Indo-Gothic architecture. The college also houses a modern and technologically well-equipped XRCVC (Xavier’s Resource Centre for the Visually Challenged). It has a library with a large collection of about 120,000 books, some of them even dating back to the 16th century.
n St. Xavier’s College has got an A+ grade accrediation from the NAAC
n The annual college fest, Malhar, is a big crowd-puller every year
n The college has a sprawling campus, one of the best in Mumbai
n The college has an active students’ council, which takes care of activities and student issues
I love the St. Xavier’s campus and the faculty is wonderful here. I feel very proud to be a Xavierite. I can’t really think of anything I want to have changed in the college. However, I do wish that the college library could be air-conditioned, and that the people in the general office were more friendly
—Rimmy Shah (19), third-year BA student