History & Profile

Founded in 1950, St. Thomas College, Palai, has to its credit almost seventy years of distinguished service in the field of higher education in the state of Kerala sending out many graduates maxima cum laude to carve out their destinies in diverse spheres.  It is a college located in a semi-urban area catering to the needs of the students mainly coming from the rural background. The idea of establishing an Arts and Science College at Palai lay dormant for a long time in the minds of the Syrian Catholic community of the area.  The year 1950 was remarkable in that, true to Taine’s dictum, man, moment and milieu conspired to make history. The Diocese of Palai was born and Fr. Mani Sebastian Vayalilkalapura, president of the college committee, was made the first Bishop of the Diocese and the Patron of the college. Veteran leaders like Mr. George Thomas Kottukapally, Mr. Cherian Kappen, Mr. R.V. Thomas, Mr. K. M. Chandy et.al. joined hands with the Bishop in founding the college for fulfilling the educational dreams of the hardworking agrarian people of Meenachil.

The sanction for starting the college had, in fact, been obtained from the erstwhile Travancore University two years earlier and a committee for the construction of the college building had been constituted. We were singularly fortunate in having Dr. P.J. Thomas, the renowned economist and advisor and representative of the Govt. of India to the U.N., as the first Principal of the college.  Prof. V.J. Joseph, who was appointed Vice Principal, was also an academician endowed with a vision of the college growing like the mighty king of the forest, an evergreen oak with its branches reaching out far and wide.  Between 1950 and 1960, apart from the intermediate course, Undergraduate courses in Mathematics, Botany, Economics, Chemistry, Zoology, Politics and Postgraduate courses in Hindi, Politics and Statistics were started.  At present the college is situated in a lush green campus with a complex of ten multi-storeyed and over eight single storeyed buildings accommodating all Class Rooms, a Modern Library, University Study Centre, Modern Seminar Halls, Laboratories, Staff and Students’ Hostels, Auditoriums, Indoor Stadium, Civil Service Training Institute, IGNOU Study centre, Entrance Coaching Centres, Bank Test Coaching Centre, Career Guidance Centre, Student Amenity Centre, Fitness Centre and having over 10 acres of fields exclusively earmarked for sports and games along with a swimming pool. Besides, the college also has land earmarked for agriculture. The green campus adorned with a variety of trees and plants also adds to the glory and legacy of St. Thomas.

In the year 1952, Rev. Fr. Joseph Kureethadom was appointed the Principal of the college. During his tenure the college expanded rapidly and reached its high watermark of growth with an array of undergraduate and postgraduate courses with arts and science subjects as majors, and an expansive campus conveniently and aesthetically studded with impressive college buildings, grassy playgrounds, hostels and ancillary facilities.  The main block called A-block stoutly built with an enormous roof span and massive columns was ready to house the administration, classrooms, laboratories and libraries in 1953. The first Prime Minister of India, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, visited the college in 1954.

In 1981 Rt. Rev. Dr. Joseph Pallikaparambil took over as the Bishop of Palai and the Patron of St. Thomas College. He contributed immensely for the growth of the college by giving a value system to the college. Since 2004, H.E. Bishop Mar Joseph Kallarangatt, a great visionary, scholar, theologian and an orator, has been the Bishop of Palai and the Patron of the college. The college was fortunate to have able and visionary managers such as Msgr. Emmanuel Mecherikunnel, Msgr. Philip Valiyil, Bishop Mar Joseph Pallikaparampil, Msgr. Kurian Vanchipurackal,
 Msgr. Joseph Mattam, Msgr. Philip Njaralakkatt, Msgr. Enas Ottathengumkal and Msgr. Joseph Kollamparampil. Under the present Manager H.E. Mar Jacob Muricken, the Auxiliary Bishop of Palai, a great visionary and a philanthropist, who has donated one of his kidneys to a deserving patient, the college is heading towards greater glories.

The college celebrated its Silver Jubilee in 1976 with Prime Minister Mrs. Indira Gandhi as the chief guest.  The preceding decade had been one of hectic academic activity during which more Postgraduate courses - English, Physics, Economics and Mathematics were started, new hostels inaugurated, more blocks added to the cluster of buildings in the campus etc.  Rev. Dr. N.M. Thomas, who succeeded Fr. Joseph Kureethadam as Principal in 1968, retired from service in the jubilee year passing the baton to Prof. P.M. Chacko. Rev. Fr. James Vellankal followed Prof. Chacko in 1984. The successors of Fr. Vellankal included an illustrious line of academic administrators combining erudition with sharp acumen  - Rev. Fr. O.P. Eanas (1986-1991), Rev. Fr. Philip Njaralakkatt (1991-1995), Rev. Dr. Kurian Mattam (1995-2001), Rev. Dr. M.M. Mathew Maleparampil (2001-2006), Rev. Dr. Mathew John Kokkatt (2006-2009), Dr. K. K. Jose (2009-2014), Rev. Fr. N.V. Joseph Njarakkattil (2014-15), Dr. Sunny Joseph (2015-2017) and Dr. Joy George (2017-2018). Rev. Dr. James John (Mangalathu) was appointed Principal in 2018 and the college is marching to greater glory under his dynamic and innovative leadership.

All our visionary Patrons, veteran Managers and efficient Principals have contributed to the enrichment of the academic life of the college. In their respective tenure they could add feathers to their caps by effectively co-ordinating the existing academic programmes and by starting new programmes ranging from the highly academic to the broadly vocational. In 2000 and 2010 the college celebrated its Golden Jubilee and Diamond Jubilee in a befitting manner with a number of curricular and co-curricular programmes. In 2010 the college was identified by the UGC as a College with Potential for Excellence. In 2012, Dept. of Science and Technology, Govt. of India, identified this college for DST-FIST support for the development of all the science departments based on our achievements in teaching, research and consultancy and community development activities. In 2014 the college was selected by the UGC under Community College Scheme for offering B. Voc. and Diploma Programmes for Skill Enhancement. In 2015, in the third cycle the NAAC re-accredited the college with A Grade (3.3). In 2016 the college was selected by the UGC for the II Phase of College with Potential for Excellence. In the same year the college constructed a new Integrated Sports Complex comprising a swimming pool of Olympic standard and an indoor stadium with maple wood flooring with UGC Assistance, and the project was completed with the assistance of the Management, Alumni and the General Public. It was a major infrastructure addition to the college. Recently, science laboratories, auditorium and class rooms have been renovated and a new Executive Seminar Hall - St. Joseph’s Hall with all modern amenities has been constructed. The latest addition to the infrastructure is the Open-Gymnasium, a new concept, implemented with a view to contributing towards better physique and physical calibre of the students.

The college was blessed by the presence and visit of eminent personalities like Eugene Cardinal Tisserant (1953), Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru (1954), Dr. B Rama Krishna Rao, Governor of Kerala (1957), Mrs. Indira Gandhi (19561976), Muhammad Rafi, Sri. V. V. Giri, Governor of Kerala (1962), Sri P. Ramachandran, Governor of Kerala (1983) Shri M. M. Jacob, Minister for Home Affairs, Govt. of India (1991, 2000), Sri. E. K. Nayanar, Chief Minister of Kerala (1998), Chief Justice K. G. Balakrishnan (2010), Dr. A.P. J. Abdul Kalam (2012), Dr. C. N. R. Rao (2012), Medha Patkar, Sri Oomen Chandy, Kerala Chief Minister (2016), Prof. P. J. Kurien, Deputy Chairman of Rajya Sabha (2016), Prof. Ada E. Yonath, Nobel Laureate, (2016), Prof. Klaus von Klitzing, Nobel Laureate, (2016), Kuldeep Nayyar, Irome Sharmila (2017) and many others.

St. Thomas College was also a haven of scholarly and reputed Professors. Three Vice-chancellors of Mahatma Gandhi University - Dr. A. T. Devasia, Dr. Cyriac Thomas and Dr. Babu Sebastian - were our former faculty members. Dr. V. N. Rajasekharan Pillai, the former Vice-Chancellor of Mahatma Gandhi University and IGNOU and Vice-Chairman of UGC, was a faculty member attached to our Campus. Prof. K. M. Chandy, former Governor of Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Pondicherry, Prof. V. J. Joseph Ex. MLA, Prof N.M. Joseph, Ex. Minister, Prof. K.L. Sebastian, Bhatnagar Award Winner, et.al. were a few of our resourceful and popular Professors.

The College has also produced illustrious alumni like Justice K. G. Balakrishnan, Former Chief Justice of India, Justice Cyriac Joseph, Anto Antony M. P., Joy Abraham M. P., Joy Nadukkara M. P., Joseph Vazhakkan MLA, Roshy Augustine MLA, Dr. Cyriac Thomas and Dr. Babu Sebastian, former Vice-Chancellors of M. G. University, K. J. Mathew IAS, Late Chief Secretary of Kerala, Tom Jose IAS, the Present Chief Secretary of Kerala, T. K. Jose IAS, Addl. Chief Secretary of Kerala, Augustine Peter IES, Former Competition Commission Member, Siby George IFS, the Ambassador to Switzerland, Vatican and Liechtenstein, Late Jimmy George, Arjuna Awardee, Wilson Cheriyan, Zakir Thomas IRS, Jyothis Mohan IRS et.al.

All these years the college has taken conscious efforts to increase the number of courses. Now we have 18 Undergraduate Programmes 15 Postgraduate Programmes and 10 Research Departments affiliated to Mahatma Gandhi University, Kottayam. We have a total student strength of 2871 and 151 teaching and 44 non-teaching staff.

St. Thomas College is well-known in the sports circles. It has contributed many players of national and international repute like Late Jimmy George, Wilson Cherian et.al. Many of our sports alumni adorn very high positions in Indian Railways, Income Tax, Indian Army and in other Public and Semi-Public firms. The All India Inter University and Inter Zone Volleyball Championship of December 2016 was held in the college.

The college also participated in the NIRF Ranking (was placed in the 150-200 Band), Atal Ranking and the Unnath Bharat Abhiyan (UBA) of MHRD. The College participates in Walk With a Scholar Programme, Additional Skill Acquisition Programme, RUSA etc. Now under the PARAMARSH Scheme of the UGC, St. Thomas College, Palai, was selected in 2019 as a mentor college for guiding five non-accredited Colleges to enable them for NAAC Accreditation by 2021.