A treasure trove of knowledge

A treasure trove of knowledge

A treasure trove of knowledge

 ''It gives me great pleasure to be present here this morning and to associate myself with the birth of an institution, which, I am confident, will play a prominent part in the life of people of my State.''

These are the opening words of the last Maharaja of Mysore Sri Jayachamaraja Wadiyar in the speech delivered on the occasion of the opening of St Philomena’s College on October 9, 1946.

Sixty five years on, St Philomena college has risen to the expectation. From a humble beginning with mere 200 students in first year degree and intermediate classes, the institution has become an autonomous college boasting more than 4,500 college and distance education students. The illustrious path has seen St Philomena’s add post graduate and distance courses in all streams.

Today the college has emerged as one of the finest colleges in the city and has got recognised from the University Grants Commission (UGC) as an “Institution with Potential for Excellence”. As the college boasts 30 acre of green campus, it is eyeing to attain deemed university status in future days.

Talking to City Herald, Rev Fr Lesley Moras, principals of the college said, the college has constituted Board of Studies for arts, science and commerce separately and will soon revamp syllabus.

“The autonomy has brought us independence to update our syllabus as per the requirement for the students to excel in highly competitive world. We have freedom to innovate in academics. We will start bringing the changes from this academic year in a first step towards transformation. The college has also constituted academic council to keep a watch on quality and standards,” he says.

He disclosed that all buildings in the college was connected with underground opticals fibres to enable broadband connectivity and internal brand com communication.
Students and teachers can access up to three lakh electronic journals through a vast repository of e-library. Soon, we will be developing a system where students, teachers can access digital resource from their home, he adds.

Distance learning
The college has a collaboration with three different universities - Punjab Technicals University, Kuvempu University and Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) to offer various BSc, MSc and post graduate courses in MBA, MA and M com. Presently, there are more than 1500 students enrolled for various distance courses.

“We have made maximum use of our resources, infrastructure and faculty in the college –  in order to benefit the distance learning students,” he said.

First Bishop of Mysore, Rev Fr Dr Rene Feuga founded the college in 1946. He was first and last European bishop of the French Foreign Missions of Paris. The centrals block of the college with its spacious grounds was Bishop’s residence.

He vacated the place and handed over the property to college, contenting himself, for his residence with two tiny rooms in the Cathedral compound. St Philomena college which is the first undergraduate science college in city is also a brainchild of then Maharaja Jayachamarajendra Wadiyar, a close friend of Bishop donated 29 acres of land.

Fr Feuga travelled Europe and America to raise funds for the establishing of the college. He met His Holiness Pope and presented him with a picture of then Bishop’s house, which was to become the nucleus of the institution. Pope returned the picture, after having written on it in his own hand, as a token of blessings, a sentence from the epistle of St Paul to Philippians: Charitas vestra magis ac magis abundet in scientia (May your love grow richer and richer in knowledge). It is from where the motto of the college, Charitas In Scientia  is drawn.

In his opening declaration, Maharaja had said: “Today I am declaring open an institution from whose portals in the years to come, will, I trust, emerge leaders of thought, future savants in arts and science, who will not only distinguish themselves but bring distinction to the state.” The college has paid true obeisance to its founding fathers through its academic excellence six decades after.

 Alumni speak 

I owe everything what I am today to the college. It has done a lot in shaping my personality.  After studying in Good Shepherd school, I took admission to St Philomena college. Post intermediate, though I was interest in mathematics I was averse to chemistry. The college did not have system unlike central college in Bangalore to opt for economics with mathematics. However, then principal Rev Fr C J Varkey (who was education minister in Rajagopaslachary’s government) changed the entire time table of the college to enable me to attend economics classes as a gesture and regards to my grandfather, Gopalakrishna Pavanje, who was his teacher in Mangalore. He told me that he owed my grandfather a lot and it was an opportunity for him to return. Such was the college atmosphere where faculty helped the students in all the way they can.

–Anasuya Pavanje (84), student of first batch of BSc course, Philomena college and daughter of Narahari G Rao Pavanje, principal, then Chamarajendra Technical Institute, Mysore. 

The college is doing excellent in offering our correspondence courses, specially post graduate science courses. Laboratories are as big as required for a post graduate college. Our distance education students are happy and they have no complaints. The college has one of the best library and the institution has built a reputation in discipline. Kuvempu University is ready to collaborate with Philomena college for offering more correspondence courses if it comes up with new infrastructure and facility.
Also, I have a very fond memories of the college. The college was in forefront in academics, extracurricular activities like athletics. The college has seen one of the best times.

– S A Bari, vice-chancellor, Kuvempu University and alumni of St Philomena college

To a large extent, the Philomena college has shaped my personality. The teachers and management were very broad minded and instilled in us a broad thinking and a better approach to life. The college taught us adapting to society with a mix of communities and religions. Our college has a rich heritage. A lot of eminent people studied and taught here. Teachers had a very close interaction with students shaping their thought and outlook and helping students to come out of problems. The college has one of the best campus and I am still associated with the college through alumni.

–  Dr Javed Nayeem, physician and vice-president, Alumni Association, St Philomena college 

I am from the 1966-69 batch of the college. The memories associated with the college is beautiful which I would carry with me till my last days. I owe of many of my success to the college and inspiring teachers.

A tour arranged to Belur-Halebeedu inspired me to sculptures. And, it never stopped from there. Interest in sculptures introduced me to sculpting and fine arts course. The tour arranged in the college helped me shape my passion for sculpture.

– Kiran Subbaiah, sculptor, Mysore