The First Women's College of Thrissur District, St. Mary's College, was established in the heart of the flourishing business town of Thrissur in 1946. The Congregation of Mother of Carmel (CMC) had pioneered into the field of Higher Education inspired by the educational vision of its founder, St. Kuriakose Elias Chavra. India was fast approaching the much awaited freedom from British rule and there was great enthusiasm for a new and reformed society. Though many women had taken part in the freedom struggle, majority of women in India were still uneducated and illiterate. Women had very little opportunity for higher education as there were very few colleges for women at the time. It is in this hour of need that the CMC congregation had established St. Mary’s College, with the aim of uplifting the women of Kerala by empowering them through education.
The CMC congregation had applied for sanction to start a college to the University of Madras in 1944. In 1945 His Excellency Rt. Rev. Dr. George Alappat, Bishop of Thrissur laid the foundation stone for the college building. The University Inspectors Committee headed by Sri. Lakashmanaswamy Mudaliar, the Vice Chancellor of University of Madras, visited the college site and gave sanction to start the college with Degree Courses in Mathematics and Economics and Intermediate for Science and History. His Excellency Rt. Rev. Dr. George Alappat, Bishop of Thrissur blessed the college building. Thus the long cherished dream of a College for women bore fruit and history was made with the birth of the First Women’s of Thrissur district, St. Mary’s College. The distinctive coat of arms and the motto Scientia et Disciplina was adopted. The College was formally inaugurated by Sri. George Boag, the Diwan of Cochin on February 9th, 1947. Sr. Mary Patience took charge as the Founder Principal of the College. Her missionary zeal helped the college to attain pride of place among the women's colleges in Kerala. The College was able to fulfil its cherished dream of imparting education to the young women of Kerala and scores of successful graduates passed out of the college portal every year. From its inception the College has given importance to academic excellence and the university results of the first batch of students bears testimony to this. A.G Teresa came out first in the Madras Presidency and was awarded the Pitti Muniswami Chetti Guru Gold Medal and the Marsh Prize. L. S. Sarojini won the Godathi Etharajan Memorial Medal of the University for Economics and Radha Devi won the T. Rama Rao Gold Medal of the University for English.
On August 15th, 1947 India's Independence was celebrated with the unfurling of the Indian tricolour. The first College Day celebration was held in 1950 and was presided over by Sri. V. K. Nandana Menon, the Vice Chancellor of Travancore University. The first College Magazine, The Marian Voice, was published in 1950. The College in its infancy itself encouraged social committment in the students. The Social Service League, an organisation for serving the underprivileged in the society, was inaugurated by the great and illustrious freedom fighter, Smt. Kuttimalu Amma in 1951. The year will also be remembered for the visit of first Jananapeetam Award winner, Mahakavi G. Sankara Kuruppu to the college. The O.S.A (Old Students Association) was initiated in 1951 to perpetuate the strong bond between the Alma Mater and the students even after passing out of the portals of the college. In the same year the College bid adieu to its founder Principal, Sr. Mary Patience.
A new era began in the history of St. Mary's College with the appointment of Sr. Annunciata as the Principal of the College in 1952. The charming grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes that later became the hallmark of the College was built in this year. Most Rev. Martin Lucas A.P, Inter-Nuncio to India, visited the College in 1953. His Eminence Cardinal Tisserant, Secretary of the Sacred Oriental Congregation, Vatican visited the College. Many eminent persons have visited the college and the list includes the former Prime Minister of India, Smt.Indira Gandhi, who visited the college in 1955 for collecting Assam Flood Relief Fund. In the same year the students of St. Mary's got a chance to meet the First Prime Minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru, on their trip to Delhi. Degree course in Botany was introduced in 1955
Kerala Piravi, the birth of Kerala State was celebrated with a colourful cultural pageant on integration in 1956. The Chief Guest of the Day was the District Collector Sri. K. S Menon. Dr. B Ramakrishna Rao, the Governor of Kerala visited the College on 25th February 1957. The same year the College was affiliated to the University of Kerala. The College was also blessed with the visit of Dr. John Mathai, the Vice Chancellor of Kerala University. Mrs. John Mathai, Chairperson of Central Social Welfare Board inaugrated the Creche for the children of working women at Nadathara. His Eminence Valerian Cardinal Gracious visited the institution in 1958. 1959 marked the introduction of Degree courses in Physics and Chemistry. In 1960 the ever-growing number of students and the ever-growing demand for hostel accommodation prompted the management to expand the campus and construct a new hostel at Cheroor about 4 kilometers from the College. The year was also made memorable by the visit of Mr. L.A Hill, Chief Educational Officer of the British Council. Degree Course in Zoology was introduced in 1961. The year is also noted for the visits of eminent personalities like Sri. V.V Giri, the Governor of Kerala, Dr. K.C.K.E Raja, the Vice Chancellor of University of Kerala, and Mr. Robert R. Kleim, Audio Visual Officer of the American Information Service.
1962 marked the introduction of Post-Graduate courses in English Literature and Economics. The College was in the headlines again this year, winning the Chief Minister's Trophy for the college collecting the highest per capita amount towards National Defence Fund. Ms. Rita Francis represented Kerala in the 8th Inter University Youth Festival in 1963. 1964 marked the proud moment when the College extended its activities outside the district and started a sister institution, Mercy College at Palakkad. In 1965 the college was beatified by the presence of Manning Hawthorne, the grandson of the world famous writer, Nathaniel Hawthorne and Rev. Father Senan Buckly, OCD of Ireland. 1966 was an eventful year as the foundation stone for the long awaited auditorium was laid and the music programme by the renowned singer K.J Yesudas was organized to raise fund for the auditorium. 1966 is also noted for the address by Swami Rangananda.
The year 1967 was a decisive year and one of mixed sentiments for the institution. The College was proud of the birth of her daughter, Vimala College, Cheroor through her bifurcation but was left crippled since the graduate and post graduate courses were shifted to the new born Vimala College owing to space constraint. It was a step which enfeebled the College and lowered it to the status to a Junior College for the time span between 1967 and 1979. The distressing consequences of the bifurcation were not felt by the College for a long time as it was one of the best Predegree colleges of the state at the time and students from all over Kerala came to study in this prestigious institution. In 1968 the College came under the jurisdiction of the University of Calicut. Very few colleges in India have had the fortune of being affiliated to three prestigious universities in the course of their history. The year also bears testimony to the visits of Cardinal Maximillian De Furstenberg, Prefect of the Sacred Congregation of Oriental Churches and Padmabhushan Dr. A.C Modi.
The Silver Jubilee of the College was celebrated with great enthusiasm. His Grace Cardinal Joseph Parekattil inaugurated the Jubilee Memorial Marian Kudumbakshema Paddhati and illustrious freedom fighter, Sri. K. P. Kesava Menon inaugurated the Silver Jubilee Housing Scheme of 25 houses for the poor and the needy. In 1972 the College secured the Prem Nazir Trophy for the Best College in the All Kerala Cultural Meet. The first NSS Unit of the College was inaugurated in 1973 by Prof. V.J Pappu, Pro-Vice Chancellor of Cochin University. The 25 houses constructed as part of Silver Jubilee celebrations were blessed and given to 25 poor families in 1974. A Day Care Centre for infants of working women was initiated at our adopted village, Nadathara, in 1975. Sr. Annuciata, who was at the helm of the college for 25 years from 1952 onwards stepped down from the Principal's post in 1977. The new Principal, Sr.Lima took charge in 1978. The College Magazine, The Marian Voice, won The Best Junior College Magazine of University of Calicut in this year. A Garment making Unit funded by the Central Social Welfare Board started functioning at Nadathara under the auspices of the College.
The year 1979 was a landmark in the annals of the College as it was again upgraded as a First Grade College with the introduction of B.A History. Sr. Bianca was appointed as Principal in 1980. Soon more and more undergraduate courses were introduced. The same year B.A Economics and B.Sc Mathematics were introduced. The extension of learning to new frontiers continued with the establishment of another sister institution, Carmel College, at Mala a rural area about 30 kilometers from Thrissur town. 1984, the year that Sr. Philo became Principal of the College, was made memorable when the College won the Panampilly Memorial Shield for the best results in Pre-Degree for the third consecutive year. Radhika Ramachandran was crowned as the University Prathibha in 1985. The College also won first place in Pre-Degree results in this year. In 1986 Sr. Felicita took charge as Principal. The New Library and Reading Room, which drew praise from the NAAC Peer Team members years later, was blessed by His Excellency Rt. Rev. Dr. Joseph Kundukulam and was formally inaugurated by Sri. P.J Joseph, Honourable Minister for Revenue. Ms. Kala Baby Thottam, the University Kalathilakam of the year, gave a dance performance at the World Malayalee Conference at Berlin. The next year she was nominated to the University Senate by the Vice Chancellor.
1987 is another landmark year in the chronicle of the College, with the trifurcation of the College Management into three provinces - Palakkad, Thrissur and Irinjalakuda. Mercy College came under the jurisdiction of Palakkad Province, Carmel College under Irinjalakuda Province and the two Colleges, Vimala and St. Mary’s have ever since been administrated by Thrissur Province as sister colleges. Dr. Sr. Partor took charge as Principal in 1992. B.Sc. Botany was introduced in 1993. In 1995 Sr. Lucia took charge as Principal and in the same year PG Course in Mathematics was introduced. The Golden Jubilee Celebration of the institution was celebrated in a grandiose manner with the guest list including illustrious personalities like Sri. P. Shiva Shanker, the Governor of Kerala, Sri. A.K Antony, the Chief Minister of Kerala, and Sri. K Karunakaran Member of Parliament. The College once again demonstrated its social commitment by constructing houses for 7 poor families. The Golden Jubilee of India’s Independence was celebrated by honouring the renowned Freedom Fighter and Social Worker Smt. Kochukutty Amma. Ms. Usha M represented India in the Asian Pacific Meet at Taiwan. To commemorate the 50th year of independence the NSS unit of the college constructed a house for a poor widow.
Another painful chapter in the history of the College was the Pre-Degree de-linking which took place soon after Sr. Alphonse Betsy was appointed as Principal in 1998. But she devised ways to counter this huge deprivation by introducing a number of new courses including M. A History (1998), B.Sc. Polymer Chemistry (1999), B.Sc. Biotechnology (2000), BCA, B.Sc. Microbiology (2001) and M.Sc. Microbiology (2002). 1999 was an unforgettable year as the College won the Calicut University Aggregate Trophy for Sports and Games. In 2002 the Kuriakose Elias Relaxation Bower was inaugurated. In the same year Ms. Remya V won the Individual Championship in the All India Inter University Aquatic Championship. Ms. Ambili C and Ms. Aswathy Regunath represented India in Powerlifting at Taipai and Ms. Ambili created a New World Record in Dead Lift. Sr. Philo James was appointed Principal in 2003. The Community Aided Sponsorship Project (CASP) for school children in collaboration with Rajagiri College of Social Science, Kalamassery was introduced in the same year.
2004 was a significant year for St. Mary’s College, as the institution submitted herself for accreditation to the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC). This pioneering College had to be satisfied with a B+ as the Bifurcation of the College and the Pre-Degree de-linking had affected her adversely. The year also saw the introduction of M.Sc. Biotechnology and M.Sc. Computer Science. Other notable achievements included Ms. Remya V representing India in the SAAF Games held at Pakistan, Ms. Alby Thomas representing Kerala AICUF in the World Social Forum, Ms. Dally Ignatius representing India in PAN-ASIA-PACIFIC at Malaysia and Dr. Marykunhu securing the Malayala Manorama – AIR INDIA BOLT Award.
In 2005 Dr. Sr. Jesme took charge as the Principal of the College. The Diamond Jubilee was celebrated in 2005 with a series of Jubilee Talk Shows by eminent persons like Justice B. Sreedevi, Prof. P.C. Thomas, Dr. Babu Paul IAS and Smt. Vinaya. The Diamond Jubilee Celebration included a National Book Exhibition and a Kerala History Exhibition, Pazhamayum Puthumayum. The Principal, Dr. Sr. Jesme, was honoured with two notable awards- the AIACHE T.A Mathias Award for College Principals for Innovation in Administration and Adharaniyam Award conferred by Thrissur Pouravali to eminent personalities in the district. Ms. Dhanya Shankar K.S became the first Keralite to win the RANK (Race for Awareness and Knowledge) National Award instituted by AIR INDIA and Malayala Manorama.
Dr. Sr. Rani George, the Architect of modern St. Mary's, took charge as Principal in 2008. Endowed with a visionary zeal she transformed the College in a short span by introducing drastic changes catering to the overall development of the College. In this academic year 3 UGC sponsored Seminars were organized. A new state-of-art computer lab with 60 systems was constructed. She was also instrumental in introducing a new NCC unit. She continued with her reforms in 2009 by constructing a Subsidiary computer lab, and an Internet lab. She also paved the way for a Centralized Administration and Security System. UGC-Net Coaching was introduced in Mathematics, Computer Science and Life Science. She took the initiative to install a new 82.5KVA generator funded by UGC, a 1000 litre Solar Water Heater, 2 Water Purifier Units and a Biogas Plant. The College working hours extended and changed the to new college time, 8.30am to 3.15pm, to provide Add On and Skill Enhancement Courses to all the students. The year also saw the publication of the first Research Journal and the first Annual Newsletter ‘Reverie’ by the Alumnae.
2010 was a significant year in the history of the College as it was re-accredited by NAAC and this time the College secured the coveted ‘A’ Grade. Two New Add On Courses- Bio-informatics and Interior Designing and Architecture- were initiated. In 2011 the College Campus was extended with the acquisition of 1.66 acres of land for constructing a Sports Complex. The new College hostel funded by the UGC was blessed and started functioning in the year. The active PTA was instrumental in installing an AT Transformer in the college. Another significant event was the regularization of 3 unaided programmes – B.Sc. Microbiology, B.Sc. Polymer Chemistry and M.A History.
2012 was an eventful year with the Mathematics Department being raised to a Research Centre under the University of Calicut. A Sports Hostel with government funding was initiated in the year. Infrastructural expansion included the construction of a new state-of-art Seminar Hall, a New Computer lab with 70 systems and the installation of a 250 KVA generator funded by UGC. Four new programmes – B. A English, B. Com with Computer Application, M.A Applied Economics and M.Sc. Psychology were introduced and B.Sc. Polymer Chemistry was reverted to the conventional B.Sc. Chemistry Programme.
Sr. Dr. Christin who took charge as Principal of the College in 2013 continued with the reforms and worked towards the development of the College. Three new programmes, M. Com, BSW and BBA and a UGC Add On Course in Communicative English were introduced. Smt.Anu D Alappat, Assistant Professor and Head of Physical Education Department was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant and Dr.Litty Mathew Irimpan, Assistant Professor and Head of the Department of Physics was awarded The Leading Scientist of the World 2012 by the International Biographical Centre, England. A UGC Sponsored State Level Seminar was organised by the Administrative Staff. St. Mary’s Square Outreach Sponsorship Project in collaboration with SMCUP School Chiyyaram for under privileged school children was initiated. Under the initiative of the IQAC, an endowment of Rs. 100000 was instituted in honour of the retired Principal, Dr. Sr. Rani George to be used for the purpose of organising an Annual Lecture by an eminent academician and a Paper Presentation Competition. In 2014, two new conventional Programmes - M.Sc. Chemistry, and M.Sc. Botany- and two innovative B.Voc programmes - Multimedia and Software Development- were introduced. The Chemistry Heritage Museum was inaugurated and National Science week was celebrated by the Department of Chemistry. A 21 Day Residential Additional Skill Acquisition Programme (ASAP) was organised in collaboration with the Higher Education and General Education Government of Kerala.
2015 was yet another notable year in the chronicle of the College with the third accreditation by NAAC in which the College secured ‘A’ Grade with an enhanced grade point of 3.3. Four UGC sponsored Seminars were organized in the College by the Departments of Chemistry, Economics, History and Computer Science. Dr. Sr. Mariette A Therathil was appointed as the new Principal. The First Mahitha Award instituted by the College in honour of the retired Principal, Sr. Dr. Jacintha C. C. was presented to the first recipient Ms. M.S. Jaya IAS, Director of Higher Secondary Education of Government of Kerala and the former Collector of Thrissur District. Sr. Dr. Jacintha C.C won the Best Principal Award 2015 of AIACHE for her distinguished service as Principal of the College. The College was awarded the Consumer Protection Award given by the Consumer Protection Council. Adv. Sunil Kumar, Honourable Minister for Agriculture, Government of Kerala, inaugurated the College Sports Land. Honourable M.P, Sri C.N Jayadevan inaugurated the Online Digital Library. International Seminars by the Departments of B.Voc, History and Computer Science were the academic highlights of the year. The First All Kerala Intercollegiate Hockey Tournament for the Marian Cup was initiated by the College in this year.
Dr. Sr. Magie Jose took charge as Principal in 2017. St. Mary’s College climbed new heights when it came 55th in the NIRF ranking of College in India, based on performance. A National Seminar was organised jointly by the Departments of Botany and Zoology. The year 2018 saw the College achieving the pinnacle of success in sports by winning the coveted title of the Best Women’s College in Sports in the University of Calicut. The new Marian auditorium with a seating capacity of 2000 was yet another achievement for the College. Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) has selected the College for the implementation of the Unnath Bharath Abhiyam Scheme one of the prominent programs for the development of the country. A National Workshop organized by Department of Mathematics and a National Seminar organized by the Department of Psychology are the academic highlights of the year. The College was placed one among the best 200 colleges of India in the NIRF ranking.