The College is named after St. Teresa of Avila. Though a Saint of the 16th Century, St. Teresa is a model for youth in any age and time. Her teachings form the basis of Catholic Spirituality. She lived the life of a contemplative nun and later was named as the “Doctor of the Church”. Allison Peers, who has translated her life says of her, “Her purely human qualities and gifts, the saintliness of her life, the naturalness and candour of her manner and style, these are some of the reasons why her name is not only graven upon the enduring marble of history but taken on the lips of generation after generation with reverence and love”
Our Foundress – Sr.Teresa of St. Rose of Lima
St. Teresa’s College is the result of a vision, the seeds of which was planted by Sr.Teresa of St. Rose of Lima, when she started St.Teresa’s School in 1887. She had come in response to the call of Rt. Rev. Dr. Leonard Mellaono the Carmelite Archbishop of Verapoly, to start the first school for girls in the state and to found a Congregation of Religious Sisters. She was a great educationalist and a humane social worker. Unfortunately she died in 1902 in a train accident when she was 43 years of old. However her dream saw fulfillment when the College started with a small batch of 41 students in 1925.
The early years
St.Teresa’s College, a pioneering institution in the field of Higher Education in India, was established on 15th June in the year 1925, as the first Women’s College of the erstwhile Cochin State and the second in the whole of Kerala by the Congregation of the Carmelite Sisters of St.Teresa. It started functioning in one of the large halls of St.Teresa’s High School with Sr.Beatrice as its first Principal and Mother Veronica as the first Manager and a student strength of just 41. While high academic standards were maintained in the college from the very start, students were also taught the value and dignity of labour, good social relationship and above all, lasting spiritual values through regular moral and religious instruction classes. In the beginning, the College was a second grade Arts College affiliated to the Madras University and offered the Intermediate Course with Ancient History, Modern History and Logic under Part Ill. The construction of a separate building for the College was completed in 1926 and the classes were shifted from the High School to this new building the same year. The first batch of students appeared for the University examination in 1927 and came out with excellent results. Fully satisfied by the high standards maintained by St.Teresa’s College, the Madras University was pleased to upgrade the College to the status of a First Grade College in 1927.
B.A. Degree classes in History main with Economics as subsidiary subject was commenced in June 1927 with 10 students on the rolls. Affiliation for Degree classes was extended for Malayalam main, French main and Sanskrit main in 1928. The Economics Main was started in 1937.
When Sr. Beatrice, the first Principal retired in 1937, she was succeeded by the then Vice-Principal Sr. Antoinette. The new Principal maintained the Teresian standard of all-round excellence and expanded the college by the addition of a degree course in Indian Music, vocal and instrumental, in 1939. It was during Sr. Antoinette’s principalship that the College Magazine ‘The Teresian’ was started.
During World War 11, the College buildings were commandeered by the army and converted into a military hospital. So the whole institution had to be shifted to Trichur in 1942, and the College classes were accommodated in St. Joseph’s Convent High School. In 1944 the College was brought back to Ernakulam, though not to its own buildings. It functioned amidst great inconveniences and difficulties in the present Excise buildings at Kacheripady. The shifting of the College back to Ernakulam also witnessed the birth of a new college – Carmel College, Trichur – as the offshoot of St. Teresa’s College. As Sr. Antoinette’s able guidance was more needed by the infant college at that time, Sr. Digna was appointed Principal of St. Teresa’s College in June 1944. In 1948, the infant Carmel College was shifted to Bangalore under the name Mount Carmel College, which is now one of the premier colleges in South India.
The joy of Teresians knew no bounds when it was announced in April 1946, that they could return to their original home, as its temporary occupants had vacated it. Thus after a short period of painful and strenuous exile, they returned in great vigour and still greater wisdom acquired by the experience of courageously facing adversities, with unwavering faith in the Supreme Power. With the dawn of Independence of the country in 1947, there was tremendous rise in the enrollment in our institutions of higher education; and St. Teresa’s College generously took its share in the process of democratization of University education. The growth of the institution during the post independence era was not only quantitative, but qualitative as well. It stands to the credit of the Management of St. Teresa’s College that foreseeing the ever-increasing demand for the study of Science subjects, it had already sought affiliation from the Madras University for Group I Mathematics, Physics and Chemistry for the Intermediate class and it was sanctioned in June 1947. In the following year affiliation was granted for B.Sc. Mathematics main with Physics subsidiary. From then on, the college entered a period of vigorous expansion, which it still continues.
The main block built in 1927 was the only building, which belonged to the College. The first floor housed the hostel students and the ground floor took care of the classes. By the end of 1947, Sr. Digna, the Principal could complete the construction of a three-storied building for the accommodation of the staff. To cope with the increasing demand for the hostel accommodation of the students, another three-storied building was planned and partially completed by the academic year 1950-51. The ground floor was used as lecture halls and the first floor accommodated hostel students.
The most important event of the year 1950 was the celebration of the Silver Jubilee of St. Teresa’s College from the 25th to 30th of September.
In the beginning of the academic year 1957-58, the affiliation of the college was transferred from Madras University to the Travancore University, which was renamed in August 1957 as Kerala University.
All these developments and expansions called for better facilities for classrooms, laboratories and hostels. An auditorium block was built in 1956 with the help of UGC grant and the first floor was set apart for laboratories and classrooms. The three storied building, which was completed in 1954, was then converted entirely to a hostel for students, now called the ‘Old Hostel’.
To cope with the demands of the rapidly developing courses in science and increased demand for hostel accommodation a new land site was purchased a few furlongs away from the main block of the College. The present ‘New hostel’ with all modern facilities, built in the newly acquired campus was ready for use in 1961. The three-storied Home Science Block with a well-equipped laboratory, library and nursery school was opened in 1963. When Postgraduate courses in Sociology and Botany were started in 1966 the three-storied sociology block was also ready for use in the new campus. By 1972 when the construction of the six-storied Science block building with Teacher’s residence was completed, all the Science Departments were shifted to the new campus.
When the Principal Sr. Digna went to the United States on an invitation in 1969 and thereafter deputed as the Principal of Teresian College, Mysore, Sr. Concepta took charge as the new Principal and held the position till Sr. Digna returned and resumed office in 1973.
It has not been all work and no play for the Teresians. St. Teresa’s College formed the first women’s basketball team in the University and the State in 1961. The successive teams have brought home, coveted trophies and created many star University and National players.
A Golden EraSt. Teresa’s College completed FIFTY years of commendable and meritorious service in the field of Higher Education, registering manifold gains in the academic and co-curricular fields; and celebrated its GOLDEN JUBILEE in 1975. A Golden jubilee memorial Library was planned and completed in 1981.
The College has always been rendering help to deserving and financially handicapped students and towards this end the Students Aid Fund was started in the year 1959, which still continues. National Service Scheme was introduced in 1969. A book bank was introduced in 1971 with UGC assistance for the benefit of financially backward students. The academic year 1975-76 concluded with Sr. Digna, the Principal, retiring from service after 29 years of glorious Principalship, and Sr. Seraphia taking charge as the new Principal.
COSIP (College Science Improvement Programme) and COHSIP (College Humanities and Social Science Improvement Programme) sponsored by the UGC were implemented in St. Teresa’s in 1976. B.Com. Degree Course which was much in demand, was started in 1977.
The year 1983 saw the retirement of the Principal Sr. Seraphia and Sr. Marie Cecile adorning the Principal’s chair. On November 1985 the Departments of Botany, Home Science and Sociology were recognised as Research Centres and Dr. Sr. Avita, Dr. Sr. Loretta, Dr. Indulekha K V, Dr. Sr. Anne Felice, Dr. George Koilparambil and Dr. Merlyn Fernandez were designated as Research Guides.
A Sports Hostel came into existence in 1986. When the Principal Sr. Marie Cecile retired in February 1986, Sr. Emeline became the new Principal. Women’s Cell was organized in the college in 1991. In 1992, Dr. Kumari K S was appointed by UNICEF as Master Trainer to conduct training programmes for government and non-government officials dealing with community nutrition.
In 1994 Smt. Maria Augusta Alankara attended the 17th Asian Conference of World Wide Marriage Encounter.
Two new UGC sponsored vocational courses viz. B.Sc. Degree course in Computer Application and B.A. Degree course in Communicative English were started in 1995. The M.A. Degree course in Economics was also added the same year.
The AWARD ERA of St. Teresa’s College started in 1996, when the College received the prestigious and highly coveted first R. SANKAR AWARD instituted by the Government of Kerala given to the Best College of the State for all-round excellence. The college was awarded the R SANKAR AWARD for the Best Non-Special Grade Private College for a second consecutive year in 1997. The same year, Dr. Kumari K S of the Department of Home Science received the Prof Siva Prasad Memorial Award for the Most Outstanding Teacher of Arts and Science Colleges of Kerala. Sr. Emeline, the Principal received the Fr. T. A. Mathias National Award for the Most Outstanding Innovative Principal from AIACHE in 1998.
Campus placement was done for the first time in the college in 1998. On the 31st of March 1998, the Principal Sr. Emeline retired from service and Sr. Tessa became the new Principal from 1st April 1998.
St. Teresa’s College received the maximum amount of Rs. 2.25 lakhs from the UGC for conducting State/National level seminars and conferences from among the colleges of Mahatma Gandhi University. Two UGC sponsored State Level Seminars were organised and conducted by the Departments of Botany & Economics in 1998.
The 1997-98 College Union was selected as the Third Best Union in the Mahatma Gandhi University. The NSS unit of the college was adjudged one of the best units in Mahatma Gandhi University and was given the certificate of merit. Six of the faculty members were promoted to the Reader’s Post – two in Home Science, two in Sociology and one each in Botany and Hindi.
Platinum Jubilee St.Teresa’s College celebrated its Platinum Jubilee on 4th December 2000. Inaugurated by His Excellency, The Honourable Governor of Kerala Justice Sukhdev Singh Kang [Retd.], Presided over by The Honourable Minister of Education Mr. P J Joseph, the occasion was graced by his Excellency, Rt.Rev.Dr. Franics Kallarackal. The atmosphere was filled with the spirit of 75 years of meaningful service in the educational field and the betterment of the society as a whole. In the pursuit of excellence there have been many creditable achievements the latest being that it has been raised to the status of “FIVE STARS” in 1999 by the National Assessment and Accreditation Council [NAAC], Bangalore.
Going through the memory lane, the first school for girls in Cochin, which was started in 1887, blossomed into St.Teresa’s College in 1925. It is still the only higher education centre in Cochin exclusively for women. It is the alma mater of luminaries such as K.R.Gowari, Minister of Kerala, the late Leela Damodara Menon, Smt Mercy Ravi, Smt. Lida Jacob., I.A.S., Smt.Valsala Kumari B., I.A.S. and Smt. Mrinalini Madhavan I.P.S.
The history of the College is replete with recognition and awards earned not only for academic excellence but also achievements in the field of arts and sports. It has been regularly bagging best college awards for its outstanding merit. The first Women’s basketball team in the state and the University was formed in 1961 by St.Teresa’s College. The college also has Volleyball, Softball, Swimming, Shuttle badminton, Table tennis and Kho-kho teams.
The college has a Computer Laboratory and a well-equipped Computer Centre. The exemplary teaching standards and dedication of the faculty have launched students to greater heights of academic excellence. The spectacular success of the college in different spheres is attributed to the “Teresian Values” that bind the whole establishment together.