St. Xavier's College, Kolkata
Established in 1860 A. D.








[ History ]

Aims & Objectives

Fr. (Dr.) J. Felix Raj, S.J.
St. Xavier's College, Kolkata


One hundred and fifty years of service to the nation particularly to Bengal. Both St. Xavier's school and college must be proud of their contribution to the cause of education and culture in India. These twin institutions have produced many great educationists and students who earned credit for their Alma Mater.

A word about the earlier St. Xavier's which had its founding in June, 1835 - Jesuits from England under the leadership of Fr. Francis chadwick SJ had started the St. Xavier's college at Murgyhatta in the house of one Fathullah Apcar. In its brief career of twelve years, the college changed addresses thrice to accommodate increasing number of students attracted by the high standards it set. In January 1836, the college was transferred to 3, Park Street for a rent of Rs. 250 per month. Then again in January 1841, it was moved to 22, Chowringee, were now stands the Indian Museum.

Due to some constrained relationship between Mgr. Patrick Carew, the new Vicar Apostolic of Bengal and the Jesuits, the English Jesuits returned home in October 1846, and St. Xavier's had no staff. We remember those Jesuits who had planted the seed of education in the soil of kolkata.

The Belgian Jesuits came in November 1859, under the leadership of Fr. H. Depelchin (Rector : 1860 - 1871), the Founding Father of St. Xavier's. They shifted St. Xavier's from 22, Chowringhee to the Sans Souchi Theatre on 16th January, 1860 which became the honest home of learned professors and zealous students.

It was Fr. O'Neill (Rector : 1904 - 1913) who gave the college it's crest and the motto : Nihil Ultra, a motto, significant and suggestive of a noble ideal, of an unconquerable hope that should urge the Xaverian always to aim high. "Nothing is perfect as long as anything remains to be done".

As a Jesuit college, St. Xavier's makes its own contribution towards the transformation of the present day social condition so that principles of social justice, equality of opportunity, genuine freedom and respect for religious and moral values, enshrined in the Constitution of India, may prevail, and the possibility of living a fully human existence may be open before all.

St. Xavier's has all these 150 years remained steadfast and persevered in the midst of troubles and tribulations. Now with all the richness of the past, it faces the future with the same spirit - "Nihil Ultra" (Nothing Beyond). I wish and pray that the 150th year of Xavier's be a period of renewal, introspection and meaningful celebration.

Fr. P.C. Mathew, S.J.
St. Xavier's College, Kolkata

Minutes, hours, days, months, years, centuries, millennia ... so the humans encapsulate the time continuum differently. Encapsulated or otherwise, time as an indefinite continuum has no meaning or solidity without a reference point in terms of humans or human activities.

For Xaverians, 1860 is a reference point in the continuum of time. The year marks the commencement of an inspiration - Nihil Ultra - taking time and space dimensions, and it was christened "St. Xavier's College", 'Collegium maximum Sancti Francisci Xaverii'. The year 2009 marks the sesqui-centenary ; the post centenary golden jubilee year of the enfleshment of that inspiration. Even as we enter the post-centenary golden jubilee year, it is only fitting that we recall the memory of the great personalities who passed through the portals of this institution bearing the imprint of excellence, who made themselves icons of Nihil Ultra.

As the high priest of this temple of learning I shall enter its inner sanctuary to offer our incense of humble tribute to the great icons adorning the Pantheon. There are first the visionary builders, Father Depelchin and his team of 1860 ; Fathers Lafont, Schepers, Joris, Vestraeten, Bonhome, and Joe D'souza down to the present times ; Ramananda Chatterjee, the Father of Indian Journalism to the present- day Sarkar brothers ; Norman Pritchard, the first Indian Olympic medallist (silver) to our own Sourav Ganguly, a world icon in the field of cricket ; Utpal Dutta and Anil Chatterjee, the matinee idols of yore to Prosenjit Chatterjee, the screen hero of contemporary times ; Sir J C Bose to Ananda Mohan Chakravorty, the 1974 best US scientist awardee ; Suhrawardy, Gani khan Choudhury to Jyoti Basu the politician par excellence, and Shri Hamid Ansari, Vice President of India ; R N Mukerjee, the first industrialist, and Aditya Birla to Vijay Mallya, L N Mittal, B M Khaitan, Sanjiv Goenka, Sanjay Buddhia of our times .... the list of Xaverian icons in different fields is never-ending. Yes, St. Xavier's as an educational institution of quality has weathered many storms in its march through history, never wavering from its objective of producing men and women in the true spirit of Nihil Ultra.

Ultimately what is St. Xavier's? Not just an edifice of mortar and cement, but a living legacy to be continuously enriched and perpetuated and made real by the staff and students, through ordinary humans, continuously searching for what is beyond the ordinary ... a paradigm of human values that point to a reality beyond ... an ideal to live for without counting the cost ....A beacon of hope in an apparently hopeless and chaotic world ....a challenge to live life differently responding to the ever changing realities, setting goals to soar high ... Standing at the threshold of its 150 years, St. Xavier's, staff and students should set new goals to take this autonomous institution under Calcutta University to newer heights ... To become a centre of higher learning and of quality research to contribute to the emerging knowledge society. Nihil Ultra ... Seemar Majhe Asheem Tumi'. St. Xavier's.

While paying our tributes to the temple of learning, I will be failing in my duty if I forget to record my gratitude and the gratitude of the whole college to Prof. Panchali Sen and her team for taking the trouble of bringing in the shortest of time 'Xaverian 2008-2009'. And what a quality volume that truly reflects the different dimensions of Nihil ultra through the interviews of true icons of Xaverians in whom the spirit of Nihil Ultra shines !


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