The Madras Christian College in Chennai, South India, is one of the oldest colleges in Asia and was established in 1837. Currently, the college is affiliated to the University of Madras, but functions as an autonomous institution from its campus in Tambaram, Chennai. The college has been awarded the prestigious A+ rating by the National Assessment and Accreditation Council. The India Today Magazine in its recent survey (June,2007) places MCC among the Top Ten Arts and Science Colleges in India in all the three streams--Arts, Science and Commerce.
In 1835, two Chaplains of the Church of Scotland in Madras, Rev George James Laurie and Rev Matthew Bowie started a School - the St. Andrew's School, on the corner of Randalls Road in Egmore. They requested the Church of Scotland to send a missionary to run it. The General Assembly's school was opened by the Rev. John Anderson in a rented house on the east side of Armenian Street (Georgetown), in the heart of Madras, with the Headmaster and 59 boys from St Andrew's School forming the core. It was named after the supreme governing body of the Church of Scotland, and aimed at attracting high caste pupils. The stated objective was to "convey as great as an amount of truth as possible through the channel of a good education especially of Bible truth". The college grew from a small school to a wooded campus through the guidance of renowned educationalist and visionary Dr.William Miller
, who started hostels, various academic and cultural associations, which shaped MCC into a premier institution in South Asia. The institution, after 100 years of life in the heart of the city, migrated to the verduous, sprawling Tambaram campus in 1937. The Rev. Dr. A.J. Boyd
led the college for 18 long years (1938-56). It is said that Dr. Boyd knew each of his students personally, as illustrated from General Krishnaswamy Sundarji
's autobiography where he writes that when he wanted to join the army, discontinuing his studies, Dr. Boyd told him not to as he thought that he will end up as a good doctor than a good soldier.
After Dr. Boyd, Prof Macphail became the Principal, who was succeeded by the first Indian Principal, Dr.Chandran Devanesan in 1962. Inbued with Gandhian vision, Dr Devanesen redefined the scope of education by involving the staff and the students in the neighborhood community. This decade (1962-72) is affectionately called "The Devanesan Decade". Many Principals of this historic institution have been Vice-Chancellors of Universities across India and have distinguished themselves as successful educationalists and able administrators. The current Principal of the college is Dr.V.J.Philip.
The college was one of the first in India to be granted Autonomy
in 1978 and the first batch of Autonomous graduates passed out in 1981. The year 2006 marks the Silver Jubilee of Autonomy for Madras Christian College.
The college offers both undergraduate and postgraduate programmes in Arts, Science, and Commerce streams. Undergraduate programmes in vocational streams of Archaeology, Musicology (Arts) and Industrial Fish and Fisheries (Science) are also offered. The college also offers Master of Computer Application programme. A number of departments at the college also offer M. Phil and PhD programmes. The college has 35 departments including day and evening streams, with more than 4,300 students, half of whom notably are girls (MCC has a rich tradition of admitting girl students since 1939, and the lady faculty members since 1940.. The institution has 220 odd faculty members, more than half of whom possessing Doctorates.
The campus is known for its deer and trees, and is distinguished by a lake encompassed within the campus. It is the second largest scrub jungle in Asia, actively used by various departments like Botany
and Zoology for their practical work.The college is well known for encouraging student leadership and governance among students through the College Union Society in which, all students are members.The college has four resident hostels called Halls St. Thomas's Hall
, Selaiyur Hall, Bishop Heber Hall
and Martin Hall ; each with their own activities. Yet the most famous of these traditions is the inter-collegiate cultural programme titled "Deep Woods"
organised by the College Union Society which attracts students from around the country for three days and is famous for the Creativity, Rock Shows, Light Music and Fashion Show.
The College is associated with the Madras Christian College Higher Secondary School in Chetput, and three others schools in Tambaram - the Oxfam, RSL and the Campus Schools.
Prominent alumni of MCC include the former President of India, Dr.S. Radhakrishnan
, first three Finance Misiters of India, Former Chief of Army Staff General Krishnaswamy Sundarji
, Olympian-Rhodes Scholar Eric Prabhakar, Former Chief Election Commissioner T.N. Seshan
, as well as Presidents, Prime Ministers, Ministers of Foreign Countries, Governors of Indian States, Union Ministers, Chancellors, Vice Chancellors of Indian and Foregin Universities, Top-rung politicians, ademicians, Civil servants, Business Heads, Journalists and other Internationally acclaimed personalities. Old Students in this year's Padma Awardee list include Raja Chelliah
, ECG Sudharshan
and Indra Nooyi
. Among the prominent politicians of today are Prakash Karat
, the General Secretary of the CPI(M)
and R. Velu
- Minister of State for Railways. Dr.A. Prabaharan, Director, Public Action, David Vijay Jayakar MD - Cardiac Surgeon, USA
The 170th year (2006-07) was celebrated in a befitting way with His Excellency The President of India, Dr.A.P.J Abdul Kalam participating in the concluding function on 23rd February, 2007.
As a typical scientist Dr.Kalam paid an eloquent tribute to the history of the college observing, "MCC is 170 years old, which means that it has gone around the Sun 170 times"
Recently the Department of Botany, established in 1940, has been renamed as Department of Plant Biology and Plant Biotechnology.