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St. Xavier’s College

education Updated: Apr 20, 2011 09:15 IST

Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

St Xaviers College is an ‘institution’ in the true sense of the word, holding within its heritage Gothic walls a rich, long tradition for excellence. Regarded widely as one of the best colleges in the country, especially for the Arts stream, the college was recently declared autonomous. A special honours programme has been implemented, where students are encouraged to earn extra credit by way of independent research, projects, or seminars. Xaviers’ history boasts a long list of notable alumni, and a qualified faculty to match.

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 Society of Jesus exercises responsibility over St. Xavier's College through a Governing Body whose Chairman is the Provincial Head of the Bombay Province of the Society. Its Vice-Chairman is the Rector of the College, while its Secretary and Chief Executive is the Principal.

The first students of the college were a group of six students who appeared for the University Matriculation examination in the year 1868 from St.Mary's Institution. The first three graduates of the college received their degrees in the year 1871.

The college makes a preferential option for the marginalised and seeks to give an all-round formation, inculcating both human and spiritual values. In 2007, the college was awarded the highest rating (A+) in the re-accrediation by the NAAC, an autonomous body linked to the University Grants Commission of India.

USP: St Xaviers was declared autonomous in 2010, which allows it to formulate its own syllabus. It has introduced a special honours programme which encourages students to take up independent projects to earn extra credit.

St Xaviers college is one of the few Mumbai colleges with a campus to speak of. A beautiful neo-gothic structure, its arches and expansive sports ground allow for both academic and co-curricular activities. Malhar, one of the city’s largest college festivals, has garnered a following from all over India. Each department conducts its own festivals, in addition to cultural ones including English, Hindi and Marathi dramatics, classical music and band events.

Xaviers also has a long list of notable alumni, and a consistently good placement record.

Cells and clubs
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, involved in different activities.

College fests
The college is also known for its glamorous inter-collegiate festival ‘Malhar’, usually held in August. Colleges from all over India participate in the extravaganza, and the fest usually has celebrity judges.

Xaviers also has intra-college cultural events, such as theatre festivals for English, Hindi and Marathi plays and musical events.

Alumni speak
Mandvi Dogra, MBA student, “There’s a culture around Xaviers that penetrates everyone. When you enter the beautiful building, you may come from different backgrounds, but when you leave, you leave a Xavierite. The faculty is genuinely interested, teaching from aptitude, not text books. There’s so much to participate in on campus, that you’ll never be bored in college – everyone on campus is part of something, and makes their own contribution.”

Principal speak:
Father Fraser Mascarenhas, principal: “Xavier’s is part of a rich educational tradition, with a philosophy to make men and women for others. Our faculty is committed and competent, and the alumni achievements speak for our endeavours. We encourage cultural activities along with curricular ones, and mould the children to think critically and compassionately.”

Famous alumni
Sunil Gavaskar, Zubin Mehta, Rajdeep Sardesai, Shabana Azmi, Kavita Krishnamurthy, Ismail Merchant, Shobha De, Cyrus Broacha, Zakir Hussain and Vidya Balan.

On the campus
St. Xavier’s College has one of the most beautiful campuses among city colleges, boasting of an Indo-Gothic architecture. It houses a modern technologically equipped XRCVC (Xavier's Resource Centre for the Visually Challenged). It has a well-equipped library with a vast collection of approximately 120,000 volumes of books, some of them even dating back to the 16th Century.

Foyer:
A favourite hangout for students with nice bright yellow chairs, right outside the canteen. Thanks to the foyer, students usually don’t have to step out of the college in search of a place to relax.

Woods:
It’s a quadrangular area behind the foyer, with lots of trees and place to sit.

Chinese Counter:
The food from this counter of the canteen is a hot favourite among most.

Anna:
The popular canteen manager who takes care of everything thing and everyone in the canteen.

Watch out for:

Furtados:
A music shop where students generally chill and sometimes even go there to play instruments.

Sandwich Wala:
He sits outside the college gate and supplies delicious sandwiches.

Kyani Bakery:
An Irani restaurant popular with students, known for its bun maska and kheema pav.

The New and Secondhand Bookshop: For cheap books, texts and fiction.

Campus journalist:

Amanda D’Souza, FYJC arts
“I think the best part about Xaviers’ is its building. It’s a completely different feeling to study within a heritage structure – you feel special when you walk through the beautiful arches, knowing that you’re a part of its history. That’s a universal feeling around the college, that everyone is grateful, happy to belong here. That creates a happy learning atmosphere, and encourages students to want to make something of themselves.

The crowd here is vibrant, energetic, and according to me, has a more positive attitude towards college than a lot of other colleges in the city. It’s not just some place you come to mark off your attendance.

There’s tons to do on campus, other than study, too! Malhar is the biggest event of the year, a time when the whole college comes together to work towards it. But we also have various other festivals, such as three different theatre festivals in three languages, a classical music fest, and so on. Everything is organised by students.

The teachers here are very approachable, and will go beyond their responsibilities to help. Classes are interesting.
They say you can spot a Xavierite anywhere, and I agree. That is testament to its culture – it permeates through everyone that walks in here.”

Principal Father Fraser Mascarenhas, St. Xaviers' College, tells you about what the college can offer you. Click Here

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