The Madura College (Autonomous), Madurai-625 011, is an academic institution that stands like a towering titan between centuries, A distinguished institution with a hoary past spanning a century, today it strides into a new millennium with the same dynamism and intellectual verve that it has always been known for. The College offers 9 Post-Graduate programmes and 7 Under-Graduate courses. A look into its history reads like a tale of romance.
The Government had started a Zilla School in 1856 as an outcome of Macaulay’s Dispatch of 1854 on Education. In 1880 a College Department was added to it and it was functioning on the premises where the Madura College Higher Secondary School now stands.
An organization called the Madura Native High School committee was then managing two schools in Madurai, the Native High School in Annakkuzhi Mandapam in West Chitrai Street and this School had a branch in the Velli Ambalam Mandapam in South Chitrai Street. The Government lent the Zilla School building to the Madura Native School Committee in 1888. The Committee saw potentialities in the situation. It offered to take over the Zilla School. In 1889 the School and the College Departments were both taken over by this Committee which then renamed itself as the Madura College Committee. The School was then called the Madura Native College. The Committee went on to acquire another school in the city which had been started by a British Lawyer. In 1903 it also took over the Setupathi High School and the Town Primary School when their managers found it difficult to run them. Then the Committee got itself registered under the Indian Companies Act of 1882 under the nomenclature “The Madura College Board”. The Madura Native High School was renamed as the Madura College High School and the College, the Madura College. In 1906, a section for girls was opened in the Town Primary School marking an early step in the direction of women’s education in this part of the country.
The present premises of the Madura College are about 43 acres in area. Robert S. Fischer made a bequest of five and odd acres to the north of the present campus to be used as playgrounds.
The Board worked tirelessly to raise funds for putting up buildings for the College and to upgrade it into a first grade institution. It organized fund raising campaigns even conducting a Grand Raffle and selling small portions of its holdings. In 1925, the College became a first grade institution. It was only in 1937 that it could move into the present campus. But the Board could not manage to find funds for endowments and so in 1939, the College became a second grade institution.
Members of the Board and members of the staff of the College worked unrelentingly, going door to door for fund raising, and frequenting the corridors of schools to enlist students. In 1946 the College regained its First Grade Status. About a lakh of rupees was collected for endowment, buildings, prizes and scholarships. The P.M Sankara Iyer Hall came up in 1941. In 1946-47, the College got the affiliation for B.A. in Mathematics and Economics, for B.Com. in 1947-48, for B.Sc. Mathematics in 1949-50 and for B.Sc. Chemistry in 1950-51.
In 1947 the T.V.S Hostel came up with a donation of about a lakh of rupees from the benevolent house of M/S T.V. Sundaram Iyengar and Sons. Pvt. Ltd. In 1949 the Harvey Library came up with the help of a donation of a lakh of rupees by the Madura Mills Co. Ltd. A gas room and the Setupati Science Block with the help of the Government and the Raja Saheb of Ramnad respectively came up later. The College celebrated its Diamond Jubilee in 1950. The Khajana Babu Rao Hostel was the contribution of his family. Several other buildings came up subsequently. In 1956, as per the revised regulations of the University of Madras, the College started the Pre-University Course and in 1957, the three-year degree courses were introduced in Economics (B.A.) Commerce (B.Com.), Mathematics, Physics and Chemistry. In the same year affiliation for the Botany course in B.Sc. was also secured. When the University of Madras finally decided to open a “Replica of the Madras University P.G. Education Centre” at Madurai, the Madura College secured affiliation for post-graduate courses in Mathematics and Physics in 1958 and Chemistry the next year. In 1959 the Post-Graduate Block of the College came up.
The progress of the College, then on, has been steady. Other courses were introduced in later years:
|B.A English Literature||1971|
|B.Sc Computer Science||1987|
The College has recognized Centres for research leading to Ph.D. Degree in Zoology (from 1986), Tamil (from 2002), Botany and Philosophy (from 2003) and Physics (from 2004).
In 1978, the U.G.C. decided to act on its idea of Autonomous Colleges so that useful and responsible experiments could be made for improving higher education qualitatively in the country. Institutions that had a history of academic excellence and committed response to the community’s needs were to be selected for the conferment of this status. It was but natural then that the Madura College should be accorded this status in the very first group of autonomous Colleges in this university area. The conferment of autonomy was the reward for the hard, visionary work of a band of dedicated workers in the Management and the staff of the College.
When the College was on the threshold of the centenary celebration, a bold and far sighted decision was taken by the enlightened Management when it decided to suspend undergraduate programmes in arts and replace them with post-graduate programmes. The College celebrated its centenary in the year 1989.
A new building for the Biological Sciences and one for the Department of Computer Science Came up , thanks to the generous assistance by the UGC. Endowed with excellent infrastructural facilities, the College became co-educational from the academic year 1997-98.
The College has established an exclusive Centre for Computer Training as a common facility and also a Browsing Centre, in a new building. Another building has come up with the Constituency Development Fund made available by Sri P. Mohan, M.P. The first floor on this building was built with the Constituency Development Fund made available by Sri S. Ramasamy M.P (Rajya Sabha)
Another building named as Saroja Krishnamoorthy Block of nearly 2500 sq.ft. came up near the Duraisamy block, thanks to Mr M.krishnamoorthy, a philanthropist of Madurai.
A 2000 Sq Ft “Health Centre” with financial support by UGCX Plan grants has been built in 2006-07.
Also a “Sky Watchers” Room has come up under the Autonomous funds for the year 2006-07.
In February 2009, the UGC extended the autonomous status upto the year 2014.
In March 2010, the College was re-accredited by NAAC with ‘A’ grade with a CGPA of 3.32 in a 4 – point