American College, Madurai

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The American College
Pasumalai College, Madurai
The American College, Madurai 2.jpg
Motto Purificatus non consumptus (Latin)
Motto in English Purified, Not Consumed.
Established 1881
Type Autonomous
Academic affiliation MKU
Location Madurai, Tamil Nadu, India
9°55′44″N 78°07′55″E / 9.929°N 78.132°E / 9.929; 78.132
Campus Goripalayam, Madurai and Satellite Campus at Chathirapatti.
Sports Football, hockey, cricket
Website www.americancollege.edu.in
Second Logo of the American College designed by Professor J. Vasanthan

The American College, often referred to as American College, is one of the oldest colleges present in India. It is located in Madurai, Tamil Nadu state, south of India. It was founded in 1881 by American Christian missionaries. The college is situated in Madurai, Tamil Nadu. The red-brick buildings, in the Saracenic style of architecture, blend with the natural surroundings constructed by British architect Henry Irwin. The college was visited by eminent people including Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore who delivered a series of lectures on education in 1919.

Objectives[edit]

The object of the college is to give the students a liberal Christian education, and to train them in the service of God. The college maintains a low faculty-student ratio. A major innovation is the choice-based credit system (CBCS). It is hoped that this will make education student-centered.

“In the present educational system the personal element is being very much neglected. Our present teachers are only connecting links between books of reference and the pupil’s note books...So, now we have an education system in our country which is so very costly and laborious, which means so much of waste of energy and yet does not produce the maximum result.” - Rabindranath Tagore at The American College, Main Hall[1]

—Page 28, The American College Magazine, Vol II, September 1919.

History[edit]

Main Hall of the American College, taken around 1905

Founded as a missionary in 1841 by the American Mission, the American College became a collegiate department in 1881. It was started initially as Pasumalai College established in 1881, under the initiatives of Rev.George.T. Washburn, the first principal of The American College he hails from the Great Washburn clan. The college was shifted to its present location during the period of Rev.W.M. Zumbro, its second Principal, who had his formal education at University of Michigan, University of Columbia and Yale University, made a proposal in the year 1903 to the Missionary in the United States to shift the College from Pasumalai to Madurai city . With more than 130 years of history behind, the college is remembered for its pioneering role in the cause of college autonomy. In 1913, it became a first grade college while the first girl student was admitted in 1921.[2] The motto verse in the logo of The American College and The Washburn University USA are still same purificatus non consumptus.[3][4]

The American College Main Hall building was constructed by Henry Irwin, who built the Mysore Palace and the Principal G.T. Washburn was influential in getting funds from the US mainly from John D. Rockefeller.The building to the surprise of people of this generation was constructed at a cost of Rs. 52,000. The construction of the building was started in the year 1898 and was completed in 1904.[5]

Binghamton Hall was raised in 1930 in memory of William Zumbro, who masterminded the construction and landscaping in the college.The contributions from the people of Binghamton city made possible to build the Binghamton Hall of The American College which is the part of Science block.[6] Lady James Hall is the home for 100 years old Chemistry department along with Physics and Zoology department was built by the contributions by Lady Ellen S.James with Robert Chisholm. This is the first science building in Madurai. The seeds for the establishment of the physical sciences department was laid by American missionary Rev. Edgar Martin Flint who served the institution for 30 years between 1913 and 1943.The two-storey building constructed with bricks and mortar has withstood the time, producing thousands of science students from the southern districts. K S Krishnan, one of the co-scientists with Nobel Laureate C V Raman, and G Rajasekaran, emeritus professor involved in India-based Neutrino Observatory project are notable alumni of the college and went through the Hall. Seven of the alumni, who studied science in the Hall, later rose to receive Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize for Science and Technology[7][8]

Daniel Poor Memorial Library in Madurai often abbreviated as DPM Library is the central library of The American College, It is one of the oldest libraries present in South India. DPM officially began its functions on June 28, 1915. In memory of Rev.Daniel Poor who was one of the pioneer missionaries of the American Board who started the American Ceylon Mission in Jaffna in 1816.[9][10] The Jubilee Chapel was dedicated in 1931 in commemoration of golden jubilee celebrations. The name Jubilee was adopted from the White Chapel of Senusret I.[6]

Rabindranath Tagore gave public lectures in the year 1919 in the Main Hall and collected Rs. 2,365 out of which he took Rs. 2,000 for Visva-Bharati University, Shantiniketan and gave Rs. 365 for starting an endowment in American College. Georges Clemenceau who led France in the First World War also delivered lectures in Main Hall and contributed the college.[3]

The college was one of the first set of seven colleges to be made autonomous by the UGC in 1977. The first college to introduce "Campus Inn" hostel system named after Washburn. Today the college offers eighteen undergraduate and thirteen postgraduate programmes. There are research centres offering M.Phil., and Ph.D programmes in various disciplines . There are other autonomous centres like Department of Applied Sciences (DAS) and The first college to introduce CBCS system and Student foreign exchange programme (Study abroad) in India. The postgraduate Department of Social Work was added in 1998. The college has theater groups, Social Service Schemes and NCC units that offer students opportunities to serve society. This institution of higher education is known for its focus on academic excellence.[11]

Academics[edit]

There are 13 undergraduate and 12 postgraduate programmes of study in the college, with seven of these departments engaged in research. In addition to the usual programmes in the humanities and the sciences, the college offers courses in Biochemistry, Biotechnology, Microbiology, Computer Science, Business Administration and Social Work. Innovative courses such as Gender Studies, Dalit Studies, Folk Arts, Epigraphy, etc., are offered under the appropriate major programmes. An interdisciplinary dimension is attempted by requiring the science majors to take courses in the humanities and vice versa.The unique bachelors degree on Religion, Philosophy and Sociology jointly together as a department can be found only in the American College.

Many notable scholars worked for this institution some of them who bought real change in college education system are C. T. K. Chari, Karmegha Konar, K. K. Neelakantan, J. Vasanthan.

The American College for long had always provided the much needed space to discuss and debate issues affecting Dalits, women and other marginalised sections including the LGBTQIA and that it's not about patronizing the cause but to see it as a matter of rights discourse. [12]

Professor Dr.T. Chinnaraj Joseph Jaikumar, Senior advisor of University Grants Commission (India), Senior member of autonomy review committee National Assessment and Accreditation Council,[13] Senior visiting faculty of Pacific Lutheran University, Parkland, Washington.

The American College is the first college in India to introduce Third Gender literature and studies with research oriented seminar and the Tamil terms for Genderqueer people was coined in this college by gender activist Gopi Shankar.[14][15][16][17] The American College stands out as an exception in addressing these issues, the college’s B.A., programme in Tamil has an autobiography of a transwoman "The Truth about Me: A Hijra Life Story" by Transgender A. Revathi as part of the syllabus for Final Year students.[18][19][20]

In 2009, Red Hen Press published a selection of Avvaiyar's poetry from the 12th century, entitled Give, Eat, and Live: Poems by Avviyar. The poems were selected and translated into English by Thomas Pruiksma,[21] a poet and translator who discovered Avviyar's work while on a Fulbright scholarship at The American College.

Study Centre for Indian Literature in English and Translation (SCILET)[edit]

Study Centre for Indian Literature in English and Translation (SCILET) receiving national and international attention was founded by Rev. Dr.Paul L Love in the early 1980s in order to show how important Indian Literature in English had already become.‘English Literature’ no longer means just the literature of England. SCILET is also facilitating the translation of regional language writing into English, so that literature written in such local languages as Tamil, Malayalam, Kannada and Telegu can be read in all parts of the country, not just in one state.Paul's teaching in India, which began with his appointment to overseas service with the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) in 1954, was interrupted by a year of graduate work in historical theology at Yale University Divinity School in New Haven, Connecticut, and by longer periods of study and teaching at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, where he earned M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in English. SCILET also sponsors activities such as lectures, seminars and poetry readings that present some of the best of these writers in person, enabling teachers, students and the research community to interact and become acquainted with them. And to further the cause of Indian literature in English SCILET has developed several publications, the best known of which is its annual poetry journal, Kavya Bharati, which includes in equal amount the work of established Indian poets and promising new voices.[22][23]

Alliance Francaise, Madurai[edit]

Alliance Francaise is offering a string of courses for beginners and also advanced learners in French through its satellite branch at Department of French, The American College.The communicative approach of the course helps a student to learn the language through French medium with effective and efficient use of modern techniques encouraging independent progress. Along with level A1 and A2 courses for beginners and those who have learnt the language already, the Madurai branch offers assistance to succeed in French language proficiency tests such as Diplome d’Etudes en Langue Francaise (DELF) and Diplome Approfondi de Langue Francaise (DALF) for an internationally valid certificate.[24]

Exchange Programme between American College and United States[edit]

A memorandum of understanding has been signed in 2008 between The American College and the Appalachian State University, USA. Selected students of any discipline of the American College in Madurai will have the opportunity to pursue undergraduate or post graduate study for a period of six months to one year in the University of New Carolina, USA. Students will be provided food and accommodation and will have to pay for the air fare, visa and medical insurance. The programme would enable students acquire a fi rst hand experience of cross cultural living.[25]

New Satellite Campus Of The American College[edit]

The American College has embarked on a new venture by building its satellite campus at Chathrapatti, on the Madurai-Natham highway to reach out to students and communities residing in rural Madurai. The new campus, spread over 100 acres on the foothills of part of Alagar hills, has retained the natural splendor that earmarks rural Madurai. The buildings are constructed keeping in mind the preservation of nature and the greenery that are found in abundance. The campus will house both residential courses like MBA and non-residential programmes in the near future. The additional campus will enable American College to grow exponentially thereby alleviating the space constraints in starting new courses in the emerging fields.[26]

Branches of Study:

  • Arts & Humanities wing
  • Science wing
  • Management Studies wing
  • Research wing
  • Co-curricular courses wing
  • Teaching, learning and assessments wing

Hostel and Accommodation[edit]

About a third of the students live in five Halls on campus, one of which is for women. The mess rates are kept low, affordable even to the economically challenged students. Elected student representatives manage the mess, under a dividing system. There is no provision for special food even at extra cost. Up to 3 or 4 students live in a room. Quite often lifelong friendships blossom here, transcending the divisions in society. Each Hall is under the care of a warden, assisted by resident young faculty. They are available for consultation and advice whenever needed.

Named after Rev.G.T. Washburn is the first campus in hostel of India. Washburn Hall is more than 100 years old, accommodates Freshers. The Washburn Hall, the oldest residential hall for the students of the college, had its origin in 1908, the year in which the college was shifted to its present site. The ‘Main Hostel’, as the Washburn Hall was then known, was constructed in three stages. Construction of the ground floor in the western side with side wing on both sides was the first stage and was completed in 1909. The second stage of construction was raising the first floor on the existing ground floor in 1914. The third and final stage of construction was the extension of the previous structures in the Eastern side. The extension work was started on 28-10-1916 and was completed in 1917. E.M. Flint was appointed as the Warden in 1914. Until then, that is from 1909 to 1914, the then Principal Rev. Zumbro probably was the acting Warden. The first Hostel day was celebrated on February 19, 1921 and the Chief Guest on that occasion was Monsieur Georges Clemenceau, Ex. Premier of France. In the year 1950, the name of the hostel was changed from ‘Main Hostel’ into ‘Washburn Hall’.[27]

Hon.Sir.C.P. Ramasamy Iyer, Law Member, Government of Madras laid the foundation stone for the Zumbro Memorial Hostel Built in memory of Rev.William Michael Zumbro on 5th September 1925. This hostel is initially accommodating the Post Graduate Students and after some time it was utilized by the Pre University Students. Presently this hall accommodate about 110 under graduate self-financing students.[28]

  • Wallace Hall

The foundation stone for Wallace Hall was laid on 21st January 1946 by Dr. Albert Bucker Coe, Minister of Oak Park church, Illinois; U.S.A. Wallace Hall was earlier accommodating undergraduate students and was converted into a Postgraduate students hall in the recent years. This hall houses ninety eight P.G Students and two superintendents.[29]

  • Dudley Hall

The foundation stone for Dudley Hall was laid on 17th Feb’1956. However, it started functioning from the academic year 1957-58. Initially it was called New Hostel. After some years, it was christened as Dudley Hall, after the name of the Reverend, who had intimate connections with the hostel and the college.[30]

  • Women's Hall

The women’s hall the home for 81 students in the year 1961 and later increased to a number of 128 women students. Realizing the increasing demand for women’s higher education the hall was extended by an additional building with 18 spacious rooms.[31]

Campus[edit]

Annual Cultural Fest and Cultural Association[edit]

The Annual Cultural fest of The American College is very old in India. The official cultural festival was started in the year of 1915.

  • AMFEST - AMFEST is the annual cultural fest of the American College.
  • COMMAS - The Commerce association of the American College conducts an inter college cultural event called the COMMAS every year for two days. Colleges from all over Tamil Nadu participate in this function. The success of this function is evident from the funds that are granted by the business community in and around Madurai.
  • REPHISO - The Religion, Philosophy and Sociology association of the American College conducts National and International Seminar called REPHISO. Intellectuals, Philosophers, Sociologists, Social Activists around the globe use to participate in this. So far Swami Agnivesh, Aruna Roy, Medha Patkar, Prashant Bhushan, Harsh Mander are some of the notable philosophers and social activists who was guest of honor.
  • PEGASUS - The English Department Inter-collegiate literary fiesta famous for its Drama, Theater arts, Street Play. PEGASUS is also known as Opera of Madurai.

See also[edit]

Notable alumni[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/tagore-in-madurai/article6008613.ece
  2. ^ V.Mallady, Shastry (2012-07-16). "American College, an institution with a pan-Indian reputation". The Hindu (Chennai, India). 
  3. ^ a b "College celebrates centenary". The Hindu (Chennai, India). 2009-12-09. 
  4. ^ http://www.washburn.edu/about/mission-vision.html
  5. ^ http://www.americancollege.edu.in/?page_id=99
  6. ^ a b "Where architectural styles meet". The Hindu (Chennai, India). 2007-04-17. 
  7. ^ "The hall of fame". The Hindu (Chennai, India). 2013-09-03. 
  8. ^ "Madurai's first building for science turns hundred years - The Times of India". The Times Of India. 2013-09-03. 
  9. ^ Daniel Poor
  10. ^ http://www.library.yale.edu/div/SouthAsia/consolidated.html
  11. ^ http://www.americancollege.edu.in/?page_id=18
  12. ^ Karthikeyan, D. (2012-07-30). "Madurai comes out of the closet". The Hindu (Chennai, India). 
  13. ^ "UGC honour for American College principal". The Hindu (Chennai, India). 2007-11-14. 
  14. ^ "Out of college as an author - The Times of India". The Times Of India. 
  15. ^ Shrikumar, A. (2013-10-18). "No more under siege". The Hindu (Chennai, India). 
  16. ^ "Madurai gender-queer activists to offer course on gender and sexuality - The Times of India". The Times Of India. 2013-12-25. 
  17. ^ http://tinpahar.com/article/289
  18. ^ Karthikeyan, D. (2012-07-30). "Cities / Madurai : Madurai comes out of the closet". Chennai, India: The Hindu. Retrieved 2012-10-10. 
  19. ^ name="indiatimes1">"Madurai student pens book on gender variants". The Times of India. 2013-06-04. Retrieved 2013-06-16. 
  20. ^ Das, Mohua (2013-09-15). "Queer their pitch: three-day meet on gender-sexuality". The Telegraph (Calcutta, India). 
  21. ^ http://thepoetsmagic.com/?page_id=66
  22. ^ http://www.presbyterianmission.org/ministries/missionconnections/love-paul/
  23. ^ http://www.scilet.org/
  24. ^ http://www.hindu.com/2008/08/10/stories/2008081057610200.htm
  25. ^ http://www.maduraimessenger.org/printed-version/2010/january/news/
  26. ^ http://www.americancollege.edu.in/americanwp/?page_id=26
  27. ^ http://www.americancollege.edu.in/?page_id=1772
  28. ^ http://www.americancollege.edu.in/?page_id=2151
  29. ^ http://www.americancollege.edu.in/?page_id=2169
  30. ^ http://www.americancollege.edu.in/?page_id=2165
  31. ^ http://www.americancollege.edu.in/?page_id=2159
  32. ^ http://www.thehindu.com/features/cinema/marriage-by-any-name/article5996427.ece
  33. ^ Annamalai, S. (2014-01-19). "JV a great human being". The Hindu (Chennai, India). 
  34. ^ Saravanan, T. (2014-01-22). "To Sir, with love". The Hindu (Chennai, India). 
  35. ^ http://www.maduraimessenger.org/printed-version/2010/april/j-vasanthan-a-man-for-all-seasons/

External links[edit]