The 54th foundation day celebrations of Cochin College, one of the iconic institutions in West Kochi, was a special occasion for the alumni of the first batch that saw the college get off the ground in July 1967. They got together early this week in a virtual meet to recall the old days and share memories.
Students and teachers, who were part of the first pre-degree batch of the college in 1967, came together in a meeting inaugurated by R.V. Kallikar, who had joined the college on its founding year as head of the department of English. He went on to become the principal of the college in 1976. He said on Wednesday that the experiences in the college evoked nostalgic memories. He was the principal of the college for 19 years until he retired in 1995.
He recalled that due to heavy rain in the monsoon, first classes could not be held on the premises identified for establishing the college at Koovappadam and classes were held in the Mattanchery Nehru Memorial Town Hall for a year under an initiative by the then Mattancherry municipal chairman M.K. Raghavan.
The college started with 240 students, said the former principal who is still active in the field of education. The college has grown in stature as one of the best institutions in Kochi. There are around 2,000 students combined in the aided and self-financing sections of the college, said Thomas Vayalat, manager of the college, who was also a former student of the college and the college union chairman.
M.K. Sasheendran, a former bureaucrat and now an advocate, recalled the early days of the college, which was launched under the aegis of the Cochin Education Society. He said the speech delivered by the then Kerala High Court Chief Justice M.S. Menon in October 1967 on the occasion of the foundation laying was a historic one. The Chief Justice spoke about the importance higher education and the values it should inculcate in students. The first president of the Cochin Education Society was S.S. Koder, a prominent Jewish trader in West Kochi, said Mr. Sasheendran.
Former principal Kallikar said the launch of courses in economics, physics, chemistry and zoology and establishment of state-of-the-art laboratories for science experiments made the college popular. Along with these initiatives, the college also saw its students bagging the first, second and third ranks under the Kerala University in 1978 in commerce, he added.