Thou art light, fill me with thy light

Thou art Light, fill me with Thy Light

Down memory lane

Jesus and Mary College, a constituent college of the University of Delhi, was established by the Congregation of Jesus and Mary in 1968. This religious congregation was founded by Saint Claudine Thevenet in Lyon (France) in 1818. Six Sisters of the Order came to India in 1842 and the first Institution started by them was St. Patrick’s school in Agra. In 1904 the first women’s college, St. Bede’s was established in Shimla, Himachal Pradesh. Mother Del Rosaria, Superior General of the Congregation of Religious of Jesus and Mary, who had visited India in 1955, was alert to the needs of the youth. She took the first step to open new paths to Higher Education for girls of all social strata. It seemed ideal to open a college for girls in Delhi in keeping with this goal. The Provincial, Sr. Felix Pritchard, with the help of Fr. Loesch S.J began searching for a good location. Sister was attracted to a 14 acres plot in Chanakyapuri, on the boundary of Diplomatic Enclave. In 1962, official permission was granted to open a new college for women with the right to a grant from UGC. Rev. Mother Del Rosaria the Superior General, was present at the blessing of the foundation stone on 7th January, 1967 and Archbishop Joseph Fernandes of Delhi officiated at the Blessing. In July 1968 the college opened its doors to the first batch of students for its first academic session.

The building of the college was designed by Powar & Powar (Northern Construction Company) and stands on the solid rock of the Aravali range. It consists mainly of three sections: the interconnected teaching and administrative block, the Library and the Multipurpose Hall designed by Mr. Ranjit P. John. The residence of the nuns is set apart, surrounded by a lovely garden. The landscaped grounds of JMC are widely admired for their beauty. In addition, there are hockey, cricket, lawn tennis, football and basketball fields along with an amphitheater.

The First Principal of Jesus and Mary college was the dynamic Sr. M. Peter Claver, who had been the Principal of St. Bede's College, Shimla. There were eight teachers: Sr. Magdalen, Ms. Indira Menon (Economics), Ms. Kamala Mahajan (Philosophy), Mr. Prasanna Kumar Hota, Dr. (Ms) Raj Nagpal (Hindi), Ms. Manju Singh, Ms. Purnima Sud and Ms. Adarsh Puri. Mother Stanislaus was the Cashier, Mr. K.K. Mani the Personal Assistant, and Mr. D.P. Tripathi was Assistant Librarian. Fr. T. Mathias S.J. was the first Chairman of the Governing Body. Members of the first Governing Body included Fr. Kenneth Sharpe, head of the Cambridge Brotherhood (now called the Brotherhood of the Ascended Christ), which founded St. Stephens' Mission College, and Mr. N. K.Mukarji, ICS, later Governor of Punjab. The other members of the Governing Body were Rev. Mother de Sales (treasurer), Dr. K.G. Saiyuddin, Dr. Gopal Singh, Mr. P. T. Kuriakose, Mrs. L.P. Singh, Dr. Mrs. L. Menon, Prof. M.N. Srinivas (University representative), Prof. P.B. Pundit (University representative), Mother Mary Magdalen (staff representative), Ms. Indira Menon (staff representative).

The College opened with one department offering English (Hons) and B.A.(Pass) Courses with an enrolment of 116 students, with Sr. Magdalen as the Head of the Department of English. Within five or six years Jesus and Mary College students could choose from many more options of Honours Courses, including Economics, Political Science, Hindi and Psychology. B.Com Pass Course, and in 1977 the B.Com Honours Course were added.

In 1970-71, the college was affiliated to the National Service Scheme (NSS). The general objective of the NSS to enrich students' personalities and social conscience through community service, was in perfect harmony with JMC’s mission to inculcate values of social responsibility and service in its students.

From 1972 to 1977 Sr. Aquinas Vegas was the Principal of JMC. During her tenure the college joined the NCC in January 1974. Some of the NCC students were selected for the Air Wing, two were promoted to power flying and gliding, and in 1978 Ruby Williams of Jesus and Mary College became the first girl cadet to fly solo and the first girl to get a private flying license.

JMC’s Parent Teacher Students Association (PTSA) was formed in 1974, with the aim of developing wholesome interpersonal relations between the students, teachers and parents, and creating a forum where all the stakeholders could meet and exchange ideas and discuss issues that impacted the functioning of the college and the wellbeing of the students.

A centre for the Non-Collegiate Women's Education Board (NCWEB) was opened in the college in 1975. The University appointed Sr. Magdalen as the teacher in charge of the Centre.

Sr. Agatha McLoughlin was the Principal of JMC from October 1977 to 1987. A strict but fair disciplinarian, dynamic and dedicated, she took JMC to new heights. People often talk of her time as the golden age of the college. Under her leadership Jesus and Mary College developed rapidly, expanding the number of seats from about 700 to more than 2000. With Sr. Agatha’s encouragement, the college held its first All India Cultural Festival, Montage, in 1980.

After Sr. Agatha, Sr. Dorothy Rodrigues was the Acting Principal for five years. Jesus and Mary College steadily extended its educational reach and in 1988, an Indra Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) Centre was started, with one Foundation Course (BPP) and 125 students. Today JMC’s IGNOU centre has over 2600 students in the undergraduate and postgraduate courses.

Sr. Melba Rodrigues became the Principal in October 1992. In 1993 JMC celebrated its Silver Jubilee. In these 25 years, the college evolved into one of the premier institutions of the University of Delhi. The 25 th anniversary was celebrated all year long with seminars, cultural programmes and gatherings of well wishers. Sr. Agatha McLoughlin came from Dublin, Ireland, to join the celebrations. In addition, a special issue of the college magazine with retrospective pieces and pictures of the college from the inception to the present was published. Commemorative china plate souvenirs, and a play on the life of St. Claudine Thevenet were other highlights of the Silver jubilee celebrations.

1994 was another land mark year. In collaboration with Maulana Azad Centre for Elementary and Social Education (MACESE) and Delhi University's Department of Education, Central Institute of Education (CIE), JMC became the pioneering college to offer the new four years course of Bachelor of Elementary Education (B.EI.Ed.) which is a professional course to train teachers for Elementary Schools.

Sr. Guilhermina became the Acting Principal in 1995. Before that she taught in the Mathematics Department of the college. Young and dynamic, she brought a freshness to the Institution. The College won the Vice Chancellor's Trophy for sports for the first time this year and was declared the best college of the University in women's sports competitions. JMC has the unique distinction of winning the Vice Chancellor's Trophy consistently for over two decades.

Sr. (Dr.) Colette became the Principal in July 1996. Before taking over as Principal, she had been a faculty member of the English Department of the college, and had interacted with students as a teacher. Understanding the need to protect the environment she raised awareness about the damaging effects of the use of plastics and made special efforts to beautify the college.

Sr. (Dr.) Marina John took charge of the College in October, 1998 and is the longest serving Principal of the College. Because of her vision and tireless efforts the College went from strength to strength, attaining a number of important milestones. JMC became the first college in DU to start a Placement Cell in 1998. Starting with one company, today there are around 55 to 60 reputed companies which hold on-campus interviews for internships and placements. The Placement Cell is efficiently run by a Staff Coordinator and a team of students.

A number of add-on certificate courses were also started for the students, in collaboration with the respective industry experts. Courses like Financial Management, Corporate Communication and PR, and Media Studies provide additional skills to give the students an edge in the job market.

On 3rd February, 2000, the road in front of the college was renamed 'Jesus and Mary College Marg'. Ms. Sheila Dixit, Chief Minister of Delhi, graced the occasion, and His Grace Alan de Lastic, Archbishop of Delhi, blessed the road and all present there. This was indeed a historic day for JMC.

In 2006 a fully equipped State-of-the-Art Multi Purpose Hall (MPH), named ‘Saint Claudine Thevenet Hall’ was inaugurated and blessed by Archbishop Vincent Concessao. Shri Arjun Singh had laid the foundation stone when he was HRD Minister. The facilities in the MPH include an auditorium which can double as an area for indoor games, a computer lab, and seminar and conference rooms. Extensive renovation and maintenance of the Teaching and Administrative wings was also undertaken to improve facilities and enhance the infrastructure of the college.

During Sr. Marina's tenure, JMC sought accreditation for the first time and in 2014 was awarded an 'A' Grade in the first cycle of accreditation by National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC), thereby taking an important step forward in providing quality education to its students. In 2016 JMC became one of the three colleges in Delhi University to introduce two professional degree programs- B.Voc Healthcare Management and B.Voc Retail Management & IT, sponsored by UGC under PMKVY. These courses are a judicious mix of skills relating to a profession, and general education to enhance the employability of the students. Along with classroom teaching, students are also given hands-on training by the industry partners.

Sr. Marina John superannuated in 2016 and the college bid her a loving farewell.

Sr. (Dr.) Rosily T.L took over as the Officiating Principal after Sr. Marina's superannuation, and ensured that the expansion work of the college building was completed on time. Having taught as Faculty in the B.El.Ed Department, Sr. Rosily has been a member of the JMC family for the past many years.

In 2017-18 JMC celebrated its Golden jubilee with great joy and pride. The year- long celebrations were inaugurated on 20 th September 2017 with a memorable inaugural function in which the Hon’ble President of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind was the Chief Guest. An international academic conference on the theme of empowering women through transformative education, and a professionally directed play on the life of Saint Claudine Thevenet entitled ‘How good God is’ were among the special events that were organized to celebrate the 50th jubilee.

In these fifty years JMC has earned a name, fame and above all, the love of all those who have been associated with it. Going down the memory lane is not just an emotional and nostalgic experience, but a proud celebration of all that JMC has achieved, and all that it stands for.