St. Michael’s College, Cherthala essentially epitomizes the lofty pedagogical mission of the Diocese of Alappuzha which has been devoting long years to the grooming of erudite citizens for the nation by imparting value-based education materialised through the selfless service of committed and dedicated group of visionaries. The college is situated on the highway, 18 kms north of Alappuzha town, silhouetted against the captivatingly verdant scenery. The sprawling campus of the college with its solemn and serene air is a magnificent sight to behold from the national highway – NH 66. However, the grandeur duly adorns the prime institute under the Diocese of Alappuzha.
As the well-deserved outcome of the determined effort of the stalwarts of the Diocese, a long-treasured dream found its realization in this citadel of knowledge which took its birth on 19 June 1967. The construction of the infrastructure began in the middle of July 1964 itself and the foundation stone was blessed by His Excellency Bishop Michael Arattukulam and was laid by the then Vicar General Msgr. Silverious Jackson. Pledging its loyalty and coalescence, the community joined this noble endeavour quite enthusiastically by setting apart their ‘Kettuthengu’ to give their mite towards the construction of the college. The pace of progress in its development was duly accelerated by the proper guidance of Msgr. Joseph Thekkepalackal and the institution was initially named as ‘St. Michael’s Institute’. The college chapel that was built opposite to the college in 1973 later grew into a full-fledged parish church.
In the year of commencement of St. Michael’s College, there were only 3 main streams of pre-degree course in five different batches. The administrative hierarchy consisted of both clergy and the laity. His Excellency Rt. Rev. Dr. Michael Arattukulam himself was the first Manager and Patron of the college, Rev. Fr. Peter M. Chenaparambil, the Pro-Manager and Rev. Fr. Jacob Kalayil, the First Principal of the college. Rev. Fr. Dennis Arasserkadavil became the Vice-Principal. Apart from these pioneers, several other renowned personalities offered unconditioned service in making this great endeavour a resounding success. Rev. Fr. Xavier Kaniambur, Sarvasree William and Sri. E.P. Isaac were a few among them. Right from the initial days in 1963, the dynamic presence of Rev. Fr. Peter M. Chenaparambil, who later become the Bishop of Alleppey, gave a boost to the development of the college from its infancy. Rt. Rev. Dr. Joseph G. Fernandez, Rt. Rev. Fr. Reynolds Karumancherry and Rev. Fr. Martin Karukaparambil steered this institution in its nascent stages. Special mention is needed about Sri. Joseph Mathan Kurisunkal, the former M.P., who greatly contributed to its establishment.
The official inauguration of the college took place on 29thSeptember 1967 with Prof. John Mathai, the Vice-chancellor of the University on the dais. Right from its inception, St. Michael’s established a reputation by fostering exemplary discipline on the campus and made its debut by ensuring that all the 333 candidates who appeared for the first examination from the college passed in their first attempt itself. The then Vicar - General Msgr. Daniel Kurisungal and Rev. Fr. Martin Karukaparambil did yeomen service for the college as Bursars of the college. Offering accommodation to the women students and staff of the college, a women’s hostel was constructed in 1967. The hostel continues to being run by the Canossian Sisters. A prayer hall named ‘Sancturio’ was constructed near the portico and was blessed by Rt. Rev. Dr. Stanley Roman, the Bishop of Kollam. On 6thJune 1970, Prof. P.J. Augustine, a Professor from Fatima Matha National College, Kollam succeeded Fr. Jacob Kalayil who retired from service that year. Rev. Fr. Mathew Nerohna took charge as the College Chaplin in 1971. He later become the Manager of the college and served the college with great dedication till 1993.
It took almost eight long and eventful years to promote St. Michael’s from a pre-degree to a graduate college. It was in 1976 that a new degree course in Zoology was sanctioned to the college and thus B.Sc. Zoology began in the academic year 1976-77 itself and the official inauguration was done by the Honourable Revenue Minister Mr. Baby John and the inaugural meeting was presided over by Sri. A. Sreedhara Menon, the then University Registrar. The introduction of the degree course opened a new chapter in the academic progress of the college. B.A. Economics was introduced in the academic year 1977-78 and B.Sc Chemistry in 1980. With the introduction of shift system, more Pre- degree batches were sanctioned in I, II and III groups. The college was teeming with students and new teachers were appointed in the early 80’s. Prof. Abraham Arackal who took charge as Principal after a long tenure in various Government Colleges took this institution to the zenith of glory.
However, the absence of UG and PG courses was acutely felt only when the UGC scheme was introduced in the early 90s. The college was placed under 2(f) 12 B of the UGC act on the 10th of February 1994. This made the inflow of UGC grants possible for undertaking developmental activities. The service rendered by Rev. Fr. James Anaparambil, Rev. Fr. Christopher M. Arthasseril, Rev. Fr. Johnson Puthenveettil stays memorable. The herculean task of the construction of the Silver Jubilee Block in the northern wing was taken up and got executed by Rev. Fr. Christopher Arthasseril with the blessing and support of Bishop Peter M. Chenaparambil. The Silver Jubilee Block was blessed by Rt. Rev. Dr. Peter M. Chenaparambil on 20thDecember 1995. The first post graduate course, M.A. Economics, was launched in the academic year 1995-96. Since the college was in urgent need of a facelift, both infrastructural and academic, a new block was built on the northern part of the main building to accommodate the new post-graduate course that had already started. Three new courses like B.Sc Physics, B.Com and M.Sc Polymer Chemistry were sanctioned in 1998, 1999 and 2002 respectively. But they were not recognized as aided courses until 2010. The new courses were introduced to compensate for the delinking of pre-degree courses from the aided colleges which took place in stages in 2000 and 2001.
Spearheading UG programmes, it became imperative for the college to make itself go through the crucial and indispensable phase of accreditation. Duly followed by perseverant preparation and anxious waiting, the college was accredited B+ by the NAAC on 16th September 2004, when Msgr. Varghese Puthenpurackal was the Manager, Fr. Milton Kalappurackal, the Assistant Manager and Prof. V.A. Marykutty the Principal. Ever since the first accreditation and the introduction of new courses, the then Manager of the college Fr. Bony Sebastian Charanghat and the Management identified construction of new library as due necessity. The new library block was constructed on the western side of the main block and was inaugurated by His Excellency Rt. Rev. Dr. Stephen Athipozhiyil on 30th of November 2009 when Rev. Msgr Dr. Antony Therath was the Manager. After several years of waiting, two new courses were sanctioned and brought in new hopes for a better reaccreditation. M.Com was started in 2013-14 and B.A. English Literature commenced in 2014-15. The greatest achievements were the UGC sponsored B.Voc degree programmes in Software Development and Tourism and Hospitality Management, that were started in 2014-15. In addition to these the UGC also granted permission and assistance to start two community colleges leading to the addition of two Diploma courses; Diploma in Beauty and Wellness and Diploma in Fashion Designing. These fresh developments have, in turn, bolstered the strength and confidence of the management, staff and students rekindled their spirits during the preparation for Re-accreditation. In 2020-2021 college was sanctioned BBA Logistics, a quintessentially new generation course within the aided sector.
In the meantime, infrastructural development saw an all time high during the last half decade, thanks to the strenuous efforts of Rev. Fr. Solomon Charanghat, the Manager and Prof. A.B. John Joseph, the former Principal. The major reforms undertaken in the enhancement of academic facilities include computerization, establishment of computer lab, language lab, canteen, smart class rooms, digital seminar hall and the renovation and refurbishment of the auditorium.
Subsequent to considerable effort, the college has been recognized as an extension centre of the Sports Authority of India. Being the only institution with a 400 meter track, the ground of the college is often being utilized by the various agencies for sports events, thus, gifting the status of a major sports hub in the district. Quite promisingly, several new projects are nearing completion including Indoor Sports Complex. On the basis of these and other achievements, the college was re-accredited by the NAAC with an ‘A’ Grade on 3rdMarch 2015.
The NAAC reaccreditation, in fact, has acted as a spur and instead of resting on laurels, team Michael’s perpetually records vigorous surge when it comes to the developmental activities and the result has come out to be quite fructifying. The college has been recognized as a Khelo centre facilitating the training of sports personnel in the entire district. The Community College sponsored by the UGC is offering short term Fashion Designing Course and Beautician course and the beneficiaries are rewarded with boosted confidence and assured success in the job market. Bearing testimony to Michaelian care and concern, the much endeared venture Kidzone has started functioning in the college to accommodate and care for the children of the staff and outsiders. The Learner’s Support Centre has been transformed into a full-fledged Self-Financing College since the academic year 2015-2016. Moreover, the college has been recognized as a regular Study Centre of IGNOU offering various courses and this has proved to be a great feat pertaining to productive academic collaboration, in the more popular field of Open Education.
The year 2022 unfurled with an auspicious breakthrough, the Department of Chemistry comes to be recognized as an approved Research Centre under the University of Kerala. It is noteworthy that the Department of Chemistry is the first research department in the history of St. Michael’s College. As the department celebrate the deserved success of their profound vision and systematic progression, the other departments deem it as a source of motivation that has broadened their vistas. The Manager Fr. Nelson Thaiparambil and the former Principal Dr. Mathew V. played a leading role to accomplish this venture. Now, the two other post graduate departments also are in the process of being upgraded to research centres. The college is now on the threshold of the third cycle of accreditation and earnest preparations are underway. Self-motivated by its golden track-record and the encouraging support of the stakeholders, team Michael’s optimistically hopes for embracing the summits of glory and thereby elevating the society that lays trust on it…
The cherished dream of an enlightened society ideally depends on quality education. Driven and inspired by this proven fact, the community of the Diocese of Alleppey made its resolute entry into the field of higher education.
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