Scott Christian College, Nagarcoil, Tamil Nadu, one of the oldest colleges in India - early colonial period

Scott Christian College, Nagarcoil.
First day cover 2018, Scott Christian College, Nagarcoil.
Scott Christian college in Nagarcoil  in the southern most tip of India was started  during the early colonial period, but it saw better growth during the British Raj. The missionaries  wanted this institution to cater to the educational needs of students from all sections of the society. Though the traditional education was available, it did not benefit the people from the lower strata of the society. At that point of time, the Raj was particular about imparting western education to the Indians and started colleges and universities for the natives. The reason was they wanted to employ educated Indian natives in certain departments to avoid paying big salary to the British officials. Scott Christian College is one of the earliest colleges in India like  Fort William College, Calcutta that functioned from  1800 to 1835, the Hindu College established in 1817 (which was later named as Presidency University) Calcutta, the Serampore College, Calcutta established in 1818 and the Bishop’s College, Calcutta (1820). East India company had a major mercantile trading activities in Bengal, hence many colleges came up close to Calcutta (Kolkata) city in the early part of 19th century.

Scott Christian College, which  is an autonomous, co-educational, arts and science college in Nagercoil, Tamil Nadu is one of the oldest colleges in this state and  was  the first one in the erstwhile princely state of Travancore. Founded in 1809 at Mylaudy by  Rev William Tobias Ringeltaube, the pioneering missionary of the London Missionary Society in South Travancore, it was  Rev. Charles Mead, who in 1818,   shifted  the  Central School or Seminary  to Nagercoil town.  

In 1860, Dr James Duthie headed the seminary and was instrumental in converting it into a college. Thanks to the  generous contribution of 1000 pounds  from  the Septimus Scott family  and a grant from the princely State of Travancore towards the development of this humble institution.  It was  in  1893, it became a  second grade college  affiliated to  Univ. of Madras.  When Rev Dr James Duthie was the principal, there were just 12 students. So, the college, as you may see, had a humble beginning tracing back its origin to a village church.  The institution grew under Rev Duthie till the Rev George Parker had taken charge in 1901. The institution saw rapid growth after 1901  and intermediate  course was introduced in 1904 in place of FA - First in Arts.  Science block came up in 1908 - 1910.  Funds from the princely state,  Rev. Parker's father-in-law and others  were helpful in buying land to build  recreation facilities for the students. The college gave equal importance to physical activities of the students so that they could develop better mental health.

One  Rev R. H. Eastaff joined the institution on 3 Feb. 1921 to assist  Rev Parker and, in the same year,  he became the principal as  Rev Parker left on furlough. Rev. Eastoff took the credit for  starting the Scott Christian College and School Magazine that was published every term during his period of service in the College till Nov. 1923. Later, Eastoff became the head of  the Divinity School in Trivandrum. when Rev. Parker rejoined the college.  In 1827 Sir G. H. Marsden took charge of the college and improved the facilities in the science department. He also started an Intermediate College that had  140 students initially. For the first time women were admitted to the college.  Playing games was  made compulsory for the students. Lord Irwin the Viceroy with Lady Irwin paid a visit to the College on 9 December 1929. In 1934 

When the University of Travancore came into being  in 1938, the Scott Christian College was affiliated to it. By 1943 the number of students in the College had increased to nearly 300 including about 20 women. After 1948, the college saw good progress and the strength of the Intermediate Classes  was  doubled as a prelude to the introduction of degree classes later. When Kanyakumari District became part of Madras state (now called Tamil Nadu), this college was affiliated to the Univ. of Madras . Sir Marsden retired from the services in 1957. Mr. B. Arumai Raj took charge of this historical college. 

 Only in the early 1950s degree courses  were offered and  then this college was  affiliated to Madurai Kamaraj university; first affiliation was granted in 1966. In 1970-71 new campus came up to accommodate more students and degree courses. In the same period PG courses were introduced. When Manonmaniam Sundaranar University, Tirunelveli  was started in 1990, this institution became affiliated to the  new university. Now there are many departments that have research facilities and in 2005 it became an autonomous institution in April 2005 and  NAAC gave this college A Grade accreditation.  Marsden Hostel built in memory of the past principal,  was expanded in 2009 and could accommodate more than 500 students.