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Xavier's kicks off 150th year celebrations on Saturday, plans


Press Trust of India Mumbai
The prestigious St Xavier's College, which is kicking off the sesquicentennial year celebrations Saturday, is looking at massive fund-raising to open satellite campuses, build a 300-bed-strong girls' hostel, and set up endowment chairs as it crosses another milestone.
The first college to become autonomous under the Mumbai University back in 2010 and looking to upgrade itself to be a university, the college was founded by the German Jesuits on January 2, 1869.
The Jesuits also run about 100 other schools, 24 colleges, and innumerable non-formal and adult education centres across the country.
Father Keith D'Souza SJ, the rector and vice- chairperson, told PTI that the sesquicentennial celebrations will begin with a liturgical service (holy mass) in the college chapel Saturday.
Another key event of the year-long celebrations is the fund-raising dinner being hosted on January 3 at the Taj Mahal hotel, for which he is inviting alumni and leading corporate leaders. The college is also inviting two Nobel Peace laureates, Muhammad Yunus of the Gramin Bank fame of Bangladesh and Kailash Satyarthi, next month as part of the 150th year celebrations.
Some of the notable alumni names include the Godrej brothers Adi and Nadir, Anu Aga, Soli Sorabjee and Fali S Nariman, the late adman Alyque Padamsee, Swati Piramal, Sunil Gavaskar, Himanshu Roy (ex-Mumbai top cop who committed suicide recently), Vidya Balan, Ashish Bhasin, Dentsu Aegis South Asia chairman, Rajdeep Sardesai, writer Amish Tripathi, and adman Gerson da Cunha, among others.
On the proposed satellite campuses, the vice-principal Father Roy Pereira SJ, the college had its first layman principal in Agnelo Menezes who retired in May this year and the first non-Christian principal in Rajendra Shinde since then--said the move is necessitated by the acute space crunch at the Fort campus which is now a heritage property.
"We Jesuits run over a dozen educational institutions in the island city alone, including schools, colleges, engineering colleges etc. As part of the expansion of this iconic college, we are planning to have a few satellite campus at our sister-institutions. The first such facility could come either at the St Xavier's School nearby or the St Mary's High School," Pereira said, adding however, "nothing has been finalised yet as we have to first secure the funds."

When asked about the requirement, he said nothing is worked out yet. "We will spend more time after the sesquicentennial year celebrations".
He said looking beyond the heritage Fort campus through extension campuses will give a boost to the college's aspiration of attaining the university status which it has been pursuing for a year now.
On the need for a girls' hostel, Father D'Souza said Xaviers' was began as a boy's college in 1859 by the German Jesuit missionaries and it remained so till 1912, but today girls are a little over 70 percent of total student intake.
"We are looking at constructing a 300-bed-strong hostel for the girl students within the heritage campus itself, as most of these girls come from outside the city," D'Souza said.
He also said the college is seeking direct finance or funding to set up endowment chairs in various faculties, which alone may cost the college around Rs 1 crore. He was quick to add that in the past the college had received some funds from the Tatas and the Godrej group. It is looking at setting up such endowment chairs in the field of research and teaching.
On expanding the academic offering, Pereira said the college is planning to expand the masters offering in arts such as economics, psychology, sociology etc, to three more subjects, apart from more postgraduate degrees in science, commerce and management.
D'Souza said the college badly needs to raise funds as it is incurring loss of around Rs 1 crore annually, primarily due to the salaries and other overhead expenses.
This was primarily because the state government not only had stopped funding around 30 years ago but has also barred minority institutions like Xavier's from raising tuition fees.

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First Published: Dec 28 2018 | 6:50 PM IST

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