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A Hundred Years of Giving: St Agnes on the Eve of Centennial Celebrations

Published On : 29 Dec 2019   |  Reported By : media release

St. Agnes College (Autonomous) Mangaluru, India, is a premier Catholic Educational Institution founded on 2 July 1920-21 by a great visionary Mother Mary Aloysia, the Second Superior General of the Apostolic Carmel Congregation. The Congregation was founded in 1868 in France by Venerable Mother Veronica. It was transplanted at St. Ann’s Convent, Mangaluru, India in the year 1870.

The Apostolic Carmel Congregation is the pioneer in women’s education in South India that established educational institutions to educate girls and women in the 19th Century. It is the Parent Educational Society, having under its wings more than a thousand educational, technical, health and social service institutions catering to the needs of varied students all over the world. Intending to provide education to girls, the Sisters successfully built the now sought-after St Ann’s, Marjil and Ladyhill Schools. While the Congregation is on the threshold of celebrating the Sesquicentennial Year of its existence in India, St. Agnes, its finest gift to the society, is striding towards a Hundred glorious years of service in the field of Higher Education.


When the Apostolic Carmel Congregation celebrated its Golden Jubilee, the then Superior General, Mother Mary Aloysia discerned the urgent need of a Catholic College for women. It was a moving and proud moment in institutional history when in 1920 the first Intermediate class comprising six students was started at St. Ann’s in the ‘Garden House’ and transferred in 1921 to the present premises, St. Agnes, Bendore. In 1921, affiliation to the University of Madras was obtained for St. Agnes College as a Second Grade College. It is the first women’s college on the West Coast of India and the first, under private management, established in the whole country. Though a minority institution, it has opened the door of opportunities to individuals irrespective of caste, creed, religion, or economic status and also given importance to the cause of the disadvantaged and the underprivileged.

Over the years, the College branched out into different BA programmes. St Agnes College obtained affiliation in the Science streams for the Intermediate in 1941 which enabled several students qualify for the medical profession. In 1933, it introduced B.Sc. with Mathematics, Botany and the Natural Sciences. In 1943, Home Science was introduced as a course of study as the University of Madras granted affiliation to the College for a programme in the Household Arts. As the twentieth century progressed, various courses were added to the spectrum of the sciences including Chemistry, Physics, Zoology, Computer Science, Microbiology, and Biotechnology.

In the Arts stream, the College offers History, Economics, Political Science, Psychology, Secretarial Practice, Office Management, English Major, Journalism and Mass Communication, and also 5 languages - English, Kannada/ Hindi/ French/ Malayalam.

In 1984, the College began to offer ‘Value Education’ and in 1986, it introduced the Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management. St Agnes Institute of Computer Education was set up in the same year. The PGDCA course was introduced in 1988 and the BCA course in 2006.

The contribution of Mother Mary Aloysia A.C. to the impressive growth of the College did not go unnoticed by the then British Government and she was awarded the Kaiser-i-Hind Gold Medal of the First Class in 1929. Once again a ‘first’ since she was the first woman recipient of this prestigious national award. Milestone achievements gladdened the hearts of all on the campus. At a later date, Mother Theodosia A.C. former Principal of the College, was awarded the Kaiser-i-Hind, Silver Medal (1946) and the Padmashree Award (1970) for her contribution to the field of Women’s Education.

The First University Extension Lecture in Mangalore was delivered by an Agnesian alumna Miss E.K. Leela M.A.L.T., on ‘Child Education’ in 1935. We are proud to say that it was the first lecture in Mangalore delivered by a lady in a Women’s College. Also, the first Mangalorean Diocesan Catholic Women’s Conference was held in this College in 1935.

The College Students Union came into existence in 1936. For the first time in the history of St Agnes College, a lady, Begum Sultana Mir Amiruddin, an enthusiastic patron of women’s education, graced the Presidential chair on College Day, on 22 January 1938.

In 1939, the College organized ‘Mission Week’ during which 16 graduates dedicated themselves to Religious Orders.

In 1946, the institution celebrated its Silver Jubilee and on this occasion, Her Excellency Lady Nye, wife of the Governor of Madras visited St Agnes College. It is noteworthy that St. Agnes College was the only educational institution in Mangalore to be privileged by Mrs Indira Gandhi’s visit on 28th September 1955.

In 1956, the College introduced a one-year P.G. Diploma Course in social work. St. Agnes College was the first in South India to introduce a two-year Degree course and a two-year Post Graduate Degree course in Social Work in 1957. The institution welcomed the Countess Hemptinne of the World Union of Catholic Women's Organisations in 1965.

Recognizing the academic excellence of the College, a grant was sanctioned by the UGC in 1967 towards infrastructure and laboratory equipment.

To create job opportunities for students, Commerce as a programme of study was introduced at the P.U.C. level in 1969 and at the degree level in 1971. In 2016 the College, the first institution in Mangalore University to do so, introduced the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) programme in association with the International Skill Development Corporation (ISDC), UK; the B.Com. Professional in 2017 (CA); and the B.Com. with Business Process Services (in collaboration with Tata Consultancy Services - TCS) in 2018.

As a Centenary memorial of the Apostolic Carmel Congregation, a Special School for differently-abled children was started and this new project was taken over by the Department of Psychology in 1971.

The institution was ever in the forefront of giving itself and teaching its students to do likewise. In keeping with this, in 1972, the College launched the National Service Scheme (NSS).

In sports, too, the institution has had a long and illustrious history. The students of our College participated for the first time in the Inter-Collegiate Athletics in 1956. The college went on to secure top honours in Badminton and Table Tennis. St. Agnes College was the only college to represent Mysore State at the Inter-University Kho Kho Tournament at Indore. In 1974, the College introduced hockey for the first time. In 1975, the College hosted Inter-Collegiate Women’s Games and the M.G.S. Zonal Inter-collegiate Tournament for Women on the College grounds.

In 1980, the affiliation of the institution was transferred from Mysore University to the newly started Mangalore University.

With a stellar record to back it up, the College celebrated its Diamond Jubilee in 1981.

In 1995-96, the college celebrated its Platinum Jubilee. The college was blessed with the presence of Mother Teresa of Kolkota as the chief guest at the valedictory ceremony.

St Agnes College remained ever on the lookout for opportunities for service and moral growth for the young women under its care. Therefore, when the U.N.O declared 1987 the ‘International Year of Shelter for the Homeless’, the College adopted a village of migrants named ‘Jyothinagar’ in Mangalore’s suburbia. Also, a Women’s Empowerment Programme was initiated in rural Mangalore in 1992.

The college has continued to extend its service beyond the classroom. In 2017 the staff and the students visited the endo-sulfan victims of Kokkada village. After learning the situation, the college adopted an endo-sulfan victim family and contributed towards a wheel chair for the child and constructed a house for the family.

During times of floods in different parts of the state and country the college has taken the initiative to visit the flood stricken victims and helped them with finance, clothes, medicine and other material things.

St Agnes College started a noble service of saving life by organizing blood donation camp in 2009. For the past 10 years the staff and students have generously donated about 100 pints of blood to Father Muller Medical College Hospital. In recognition for this life saving act the college was awarded with an Appreciation Certificate by Father Muller Medical College in 2015.

The final Year Students are actively involved in rendering service to the society every Saturday throughout the year, through an outreach programme called, Agnes Towards Community (ATC). This outreach programme was started in the year 2015 with the objectives to inculcate in students a sense of social responsibility, to transform students into healthy individuals valuing right things in life and to ensure that the students going out of the portals of St. Agnes College will be the powerful agents of change at home and society. Different villages are adopted by the unit, where the students dynamically contribute towards activities such as: sapling planting, cleanliness drive in anganavadis/primary health centres, door-to-door awareness campaigns on Rain water harvesting, e-waste and dry waste, water purification, Prevention of Dengue and Malaria, epidemic diseases, beach cleaning, water analysis, cleanliness drive in schools and village areas (swachatha program), Solid Waste Management, importance of Earthworms and Vermicompost. The students visit various schools and give training on Basic Computer Skills, Spoken English Class and teaching Mathematics through different methods like logics and origami.

St. Agnes College strengthened its reputation as a standard bearer in the field of higher education by being the first institution in Mangalore University to present itself for accreditation by the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) in 1999. It was awarded a Five Star grade. The College was awarded an ‘A’ grade in subsequent accreditations in 2005 and 2012. In 2017, in its fourth cycle of accreditation, the College obtained an A+ grade and a CGPA of 3.65 out of 4.

The awards and honours have come in quick and glorious succession. St. Agnes College was recognized as a ‘College with Potential for Excellence’ by the UGC in May 2006. In November 2006, the prestigious International Jimmy and Roselyn Carter Foundation Partnership Award, the first of its kind in India, was granted to the Institution for its work in Watershed Management which greatly benefitted villages at Kirem and Vamanjoor in Mangalore’s mofussil outskirts.

In 2006, St Agnes College was granted academic autonomy from the UGC and in 2007 from Mangalore University. In 2017 the institution was recognized by the UGC as a “College of Excellence”, while “Star College” status was bestowed on it by the Department of Biotechnology, Ministry of Science and Technology, Government of India, in the same year.

In 2019, the college was selected for Unnath Bharath Abhiyan, a flagship program of Ministry of Human Resource Development and in the same year the college was selected for Mentoring NAAC Accreditation Aspirant Institutions to promote Quality Assurance in Higher Education by UGC Scheme of Paramarsh.

In 2001 the College, until then composite, bifurcated into separate Degree and Pre-University institutions and in 2004 the PU College was relocated to a new building on the campus.

In 2008 St Agnes College made an entry into Post-Graduate education with two programmes: M.A. English and M.Sc. Psychology. Four other programmes followed - M.Com. (2009); and M.Sc. (Clinical Psychology) M.Sc. Chemistry (2010) and M.Sc. in Data Analytics (2018).

Another institutional milestone was the organization of the first ‘Graduation Day’ on the campus in 2012.
The institution has some of the finest members of faculty in the city. Well qualified teachers number over 100 in strength and together with 50 committed support staff, they constitute the backbone of the College

Seminars, workshops and conferences organized by various departments greatly intensify the academic experience on the campus offering the students global exposure and preparing them both for higher studies and various job opportunities.

Major and Minor Research Projects, paper presentations and publications by students and faculty members are some of the institution’s more noteworthy scholarly accomplishments. To tap the potential of students, the institution hosts a number of forums, clubs, units and wings in various fields of co-curricular, social and national interest.

Over the century, the Institution has the distinction of producing women graduates who hold positions in different spheres as educators, scientists, chartered accountants, management professionals and efficient homemakers.The institution is proud of its alumni, who possess exceptional qualities of head and heart. It must be placed on record that they extend support to the needy students of the College through their scholarship programme.

Now, with the march of time, the institution stands on the threshold of its Centenary celebrations. The College has already marked a vibrant beginning with the unveiling of the Centenary Logo and the launching of the Alumni website on the Feast of St. Agnes, 21 January, 2018.

15 August 2018 was an auspicious date in the history of St Agnes College as the day marked the laying of the foundation of the Mother Mary Aloysia A.C. Centenary Memorial Block by the Bishop of Mangalore, Most Rev. Aloysius Paul D’Souza in the presence of the Provincial Superior of the Apostolic Carmel Karnataka Province and various other dignitaries including academic luminaries, political leaders, benefactors, friends, well wishers, staff, students, parents and alumni. In the same year a two day Centenary Fiesta was organized in association with the alumni. In 2019 the Centenary Special Postal Cover was released on the College day. A centenary Run was held on 15 to celebrate the empowerment of women. A number of students of all the institutions on the campus, faculty members, support staff, parents, alumni and the public joined in marathon/cyclathon/walkathon to create awareness of the 100 glorious years of service to society through education.

Having inherited a legacy and mission from Mother Mary Aloysia, generations of religious sisters, faculty members, support staff, students and alumni have kept that vision alive and made the empowerment of women their mission and life’s work.

In the motto of St Agnes College, “God is my strength” which continues to flow into the life of every person who enters the portals of the institution, the divine presence is almost palpable. In the sincere effort of every Principal, member of the faculty and student, the spirit of Mother Mary Aloysia is ever renewed.

Even one hundred years after the birth of St Agnes College, the human spirit and the power of the divine combine on the campus to make daily miracles of life, love and learning continue to happen.

It is a singular privilege to be part of the great Agnesian experience as the curtains raise for the centenary celebrations. The students who are studying these three years are privileged centenary students. To get a glimpse of the college please visit

At St Agnes College what has been and still is the cornerstone of excellence is: Passion, Purpose and Progress.


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