The story of Loyola College began with Rev. Fr.Bertram, S.J., its founder Principal. He had gone abroad after the end of the First World War to collect funds for the proposed Jesuit College in Madras . But because of the economic depression he received very poor response. He felt very depressed but as was usual with him he took out of another pocket his copy of the Imitation of Christ, the spiritual classic by Thomas A Kempis. Opening it at random his eyes fell on the words in Book II Ch.1. "When thou hast Christ thou art rich! He will be the faithful procurator in all things". This reading gave him great consolation. He exposed his problem to R.F. General of the Society in Rome, Rev. Fr. Ledochowski. Pope Benedict XV contributed 100,000 lire, which however in terms of the Indian rupee had little value after the First World War. The Superior General also assigned some lire. Fr. Bertram, who was just being relieved of his Principalship of St Joseph's College, Tiruchirapalli in order to launch the new college in Madras, brought with him some senior members of the Staff of St Joseph's as the human foundation stones of the new ediface. Fr Bertram borrowed Rs.2 lakhs from St Joseph's to get things started. The search for a suitable site for the college had ended in the purchase of 50 acres between the Tank Bunk Road and the Railway line for about Rs.60,000/-.
His Excellency Lord (now Viscount) Willingdon, Governor of Madras, layed the foundation stone with 75 students on the rolls on March 10 th 1924. The college began with the first year B.A. in Economics, History and Mathematics. Three blocks of hostels were constructed before the opening of the college in June 1925.
The Staff of the new College had been constituted:
Rev. Fr. G. Foreau, S.J., Rector, Rev. Fr. Bertram, S.J., Principal, Rev. Fr. H.J. Quinn, S.J., Rev. Fr. L.D. Murphy, S.J., M.A. (Oxon), Mr. N. Sundaram Ayyar, M.A., Rev.Fr. L. Vion, S.J., Rev. Fr. Basenach, S.J., B.Sc., Rev. Fr. H. Burrows, S.J., M.A. (Cantab), Mr T.S. Subramanya Ayyar, M.A. (Cantab). On 12th October, Sir. A.P. Patro, then Minister of Education, solemnly inaugurated the institution. The College building was finished at the beginning of the academic year 1926-27, As there was neither time nor funds to construct more hostels, temporary sheds were hurriedly put up.
On 1st July 1926 we received from Rome a donation of Rs.10,000/- and on 3rd July the first sod was cut in the place where the fourth hostel block was to be occupied on 1st November.
The Government was approached with a request to pay a portion of the grant corresponding to the southern half of the College building. The request was favourably considered and granted. Money was borrowed, and six new blocks started in December 1926.
Within three years after the starting of the College, affiliation was obtained for the prestigious three-year Honours courses following the Intermediate. First year Honours in Mathematics and Economics commenced in July 1927. This year the enrolment went up to 503. The first batch of Loyola graduates was presented at the University Convocation in August 1927, an event which the Principal named `its academic baptism'.
For the first time a retreat for Catholic students was conducted by Rev. Fr. Burrows, S.J. On 20th August 1927, a compulsory medical inspection of all the students, and also the first full-fledged College Day on 27th January, 1928, presided over by the Governor of Madras, followed by the publication of the first College Annual.
The College by this time had ample facilities for sports - Tennis Courts, Football and Hockey Fields and a Cricket ground. Alleys were laid out lined with trees.
On 11th February 1929 Archbishop Aelen died at the age of 74 years. The College was closed the next day in honour of the deceased. It was Archbishop Aelen, who in February 1912, requested us to open a College in Madras and assisted us in every way, by his influence, by his encouragements, lastly by a handsome donation of Rs.10,000/- from his private purse. Hostel No.2 bears his name, a standing acknowledgement of our gratitude to him.
In 1929 a tutorial system was started by which Tutors visited students in their hostel rooms with their weekly composition books as, basis for an encounter. That year, the College was given its first UTC contingent (ancestor of the N.C.C. of today). By now there were 11 Hostel Blocks with 316 single rooms.
The College Annual records that, at the Preliminary Honours Exam of 1931, the only distinction obtained was by Douglas Gordon, future Rector and Principal of Loyola and later Provincial of Madurai Jesuits. The outstanding event of the January-March term was the opening of the new College Chapel, on March 6 th . This sacred edifice stands out, in all its beauty, elegance and slimness, with its harmonious lines clear cut on the blue azure, towards which walls, turrets, buttresses, parapets, roof, spire all soar and converge, carrying aloft with them the soul of the onlooker. On 6th March, our "Schola cantorum" , or choir, made its first public appearance.
In 1934 Rev. Fr. Vion, S.J., became Acting Principal since Rev. Fr. Bertram, S.J., had to act as Vice - Chancellor of the University.
Annexes were built for the Physics Department. Rev. Fr. Honore, S.J., an eminent scientist of St. Joseph's fame, who had aided Fr Bertram in drawing up the master-plan for Loyola, passed away that year. For the first time 2 of our students appeared for the ICS.
In 1937-38, Sri Rajagopalachariar presided over the College Day celebrations and a local newspaper reported that `The Chief Minister was clearly impressed by the orderliness and the comfortable arrangements of the celebration and went on to suggest that it would be a good thing if it could have been possible to film the celebration so that the less fortunate schools in the mofussil could see the right way of conducting such displays'.
1938-39 was the year of improvement Lecture Halls for B.A. classes came up. A Mansfield Gas Plan was put up. The third storey of the building was started. A new block for hostel, and building of a large dining hall and new bathing rooms were taken up. The cricket filed, it's pavilion and the P.T. field also came up this year.
Rev. Fr. Murphy, S.J., was Rector and Principal between 1937 - 42, a period of remarkable expansion for the College. The provision of three sections in Intermediate Science led to a great increase in the strength of the College.
Rev. Fr. Jerome D'Souza, S.J., took over as Rector & Principal in 1942. During his tenure, courses were expanded by the introduction of Hindi and French in Part III of B.A., the re-introduction of Latin and Natural Sciences in the Intermediate and Botany and Zoology in B.Sc., B.Com. (Honours) & B.Sc (Honours) in Chemistry. Simultaneously, a much needed storey was added to the Father's Bungalow. Two new Hostels each of 3 storeys were also completed. A Chemistry Block was constructed and finally, a colossal library cum auditorium to be known as `The Bertram Hall' was finished in time for the Silver Jubilee Celebrations.
The Silver Jubilee Celebrations commenced on October 27th 1950. The then Chief Minister of Madras, Sri P.S. Kumaraswami Raja inaugurated the function. Rev. Fr. Yeddanapally, S.J., lectured to a very select audience on the fundamental principles of the chemical processes involved in modern industry.
On the evening of the first day there was a reunion of the Alumni at a Dinner Meeting. Mr Gopala Reddy , Finance Minister unveiled a portrait of Sri C. Rajagopalachari . The second day began with `popular sports' and in the evening there was a tea party. The portrait of Fr Bertram was unveiled by Sri A. L. Mudaliar, Vice - Chancellor of Madras University. On the third day, Sunday, there was a Pontifical High Mass by the Bishop of Mylapore and Solemn Benediction in the evening. The last item of the Celebrations was a `free for all' Variety Entertainment.
In 1956-57, after an initial hesitancy, Loyola enthusiastically adopted PUC. The rush for admission was greater than usual.
In 1957-58, two Research Schemes were subsidised by the Council of Scientific & Industrial Research - one for Chemistry and Phenolic Resins and the other for the Chemical Re-activities of the wide proteins. Postgraduates courses M.A. and M.Sc. were also started.
In 1961-62, the College Social Service League did heroic work during the year's floods, in the neighbourhood, besides their usual weekly service in the way of cleanliness and feeding the needy.
In 1962-64, changes were made by the University authorities at both Pre University and degree levels due to the poor performance of students at the IIT entrance exam.
1965-66 - the year the city's well known Mylapore Academy whose President was the late Dr. C.P. Ramasamy Iyer instituted a beautiful rolling cup to be awarded to the College that secured the highest number of passes in PUC Our College got it with 91% result (510/559 students), `Loyola Look Out' was started by students with the help of Rev. Fr Murphy, S.J.
In 1969-70, Sauliere Hall for Hosteliers and a new Community Centre was opened on 31st July 1970. The Dramatic Society was very active. Rev. Fr. Kuriakose, S.J., took over the administration of the institution. He was a member of the University Syndicate and the President of the Association of Management of Private Colleges.
In 1970-71, tamil medium classes in Arts Group at PUC evening college were started: A group of 7 students helped in no small measure to bring labour and management to the Conference Table and iron out their differences and arrive at an agreement in the Standard Motors Factory Strike in February.
In 1972-73 in spite of widespread student agitation in the State, Loyola went an almost uninterrupted. With the help of AIACHE (All India Association for Christian Higher Education) a self-evaluation programme to clarify the goals, objectives, updated methods of teaching and administration was introduced.
College Science Improvement Programme (COSIP) sponsored by the Under-Graduate Science Departments, began to expand new methods of teaching and evaluating and started designing different staff improvement programmes. This was the first step in the direction of much talked of autonomous Colleges. A Counselling Centre was opened for consultation and vocational guidance.
In 1975-76, Loyola became one of the six privileged Colleges selected for `Autonomous' status.
The student body numbered 1800 in 1950, the Silver Jubilee year. We had sent up for the Intermediate exam the largest number ever sent up for the Intermediate exam by any college in the University, and secured more passes and more first classes than ever before, both university records.
Bertram Hall, received its sound-proof ceiling in 1951. Moliere's "Bourgeois Gentilhomme" was staged on College Day, 1951 The next year, 1952, Rajaji, then Chief Minister, presided over the College Day, where a play, `The Hunt for the Bride', was written and produced by one of the students.
The College Union, was given at this time, to staging Mock Parliaments and U.N.O. Assemblies. The mock session of the U.N.O. of 1953 deserves special mention because of the encomiums it received from Mrs. Vijayalakshmi Pandit who sent a report of it. The mock Parliamentary Assembly of the same year won the appreciation of Prof.W.A. Robson of the London School of Economics, who actually witnessed the session and pronounced it "the best mock Parliament I have ever heard."
In December 1952 Loyola hosted the Sixth International Conference of Social Work. No sooner, 2500 Catholic students, 600 of them women, from all over India descended on the campus for a three-day conference of the All India Catholic University Federation. This first ever National Conference orgainsed by the General Chaplain. Rev. Fr. P. Ceyrac, S.J., gave a spurt to the Federation and placed it firmly on the map of Catholic India. Two years later the College was the venue of the Asian Seminar for Catholic University Students, who came from Asia, Australia and New Zealand, besides the delegates of Pax Romana from Europe. It was a memorable meeting spread over three weeks during which the members did some hard thinking on the problems of university life.
The college building programme, which had been vigorously maintained by Rev. Fr. Murphy, S.J. and Rev. Fr. Jerome D'Souza, S.J., during the forties, continued on a lower key: two large hostel blocks, new mess-rooms, a store cum dispensary and a temporary indoor games building were put up in 1951 and 1952. More interesting than these was the construction of quarters for the sub-ordinate staff: more than 40 houses in two colonies at the corners of the college campus with a primary school which was handed over to sisters to run. This has grown into the now flourishing institution at Susaipuram.
In 1953 the College Union began the publication of the Loyola Monthly which the Chronicler of that year admits was "interesting, informative and occasionally witty". It too disappeared after a year without leaving a trace. The successor, the Loyola Lookout , started in 1965, is still going strong.
Cardinal Gracias presided over the College Day in 1954 and held the audience spellbound in an eloquent speech which was recorded in full in the College Magazine. The Nungambakkam railway station was declared open on 14 January 1956. The Principal, Fr. Arulsamy, presided over the function.
1956 was the Igantian Centenary year, the 400th death anniversary of St. Ignatius of Loyola, Patron of the College. It was duly celebrated by the religious community on 31st July and by the C.S.U. on the 4th August, the piece de resistance of their programme being the `villupattu' which glorified the deeds of the saint in song and action.
Rev. Fr. Arulsamy, S.J., the Principal, began meeting Old Boys scattered all over South India. We have now resuscitated the O.B.A. in a new form, the Alumni Association, which promises to be long lived.
New constructions arose in 1956; an addition of a block of 15 rooms to the Fathers' residence to accommodate the increasing flow of guests from India and abroad; new quarters for the teaching staff begun in the plot across the railway line.
Two deaths took place - Rev. Fr. F. Varin, S.J., on the 5th Nov. and Rev.Fr. S. Rayapper, S.J., the succeeding summer (16.5.57). Rev. Fr. Varin, S.J., was one of the founding fathers of Loyola. He was responsible for the laying out of the gardens, planting of trees and general beauty of the campus, so much admired by visitors. He was also the indefatigable manager of the hostel cinema.
In 1957, Rev. Fr. Jerome D'Souza, S.J., as newly elected Assistant to Fr. General of the Society of Jesus, for India and East Asia, addressed the students on Gandhian ideals. Fr Jerome who provided great services to Loyola as Rector and Principal for nearly eight years, can be called its second founder.
1958 saw a new Principal in Loyola, Rev. Fr. L. Sundaram, S.J. The Pre-University course had been introduced in 1956 and the first batch of students were presented for examination, 82% of them passed.
1960 gave the college a new Rector Rev. Fr. L.M. Yeddanapalli, S.J., who had already become something of an institution in Loyola. Rev. Fr. J. Kalathil, S.J., whom he replaced, will be remembered not only for the prize dairy farm which he established, but also for the sixty odd teaching staff quarters he built and his fatherly interest in the lower categories of employees.
In Jan 1959 Admiral R.K. Katari visited the college and took a ceremonial salute from the cadets of the N.C.C. Naval Wing. The Vice-Chancellor, Dr Lakshmanaswami Mudaliar, presided over College Day. Dr. C.D. Deshmukh, Chairman of the U.G.C., who presided over the Valedictory function of the College Union on 27 Feb 1960, stressed the need of extra-curricular activities for a complete education and outlined the attempts being made to reform the examination system. The college was honoured by the visit of two distinguished dignitaries of the Church: Cardinal Agagianian, accompanied by Archbishop knox, the papal Internuncio, came to the college. Among the Old Boys who visited us mention may be made of Lt. Col. J.A.M. Thompson, Base Commander, Madras, who presided over Sports Day, and R. Krishnan, our tennis star, who enthralled his young audience with a talk on his international experiences. The students have instituted a shield for tennis in his honour.
On 1st Jan 1961 Rev. Fr. T.N. Siqueria, S.J., took charge as Principal, relieving Rev. Fr. L. Sundaram, S.J. This year witnessed the passing away of Rev. Fr. F. Basenach, S.J., one of the co-founders under Fr. Bertram's leadership.
1962 saw a new Rector, Rev. Fr. A.M. Varaprasadam, S.J., replacing Rev. Fr. Yeddanapalli, S.J. In 1963 the Diploma Course offered by the Institute of Social Science was replaced by a full fledged M.A. in Social Work. Rev. Fr. Racine, S.J., was invested with the Legion d'honneur by M. Marcel Flory, Cultural Adviser to the French Govt., a distinguished mathematician himself.
1964 saw a new Rector, Rev. Fr. A. Devasia, S.J., already an established figure in the college, replace Fr. Varaprasadam. At the same time a new Principal was appointed, Rev. Fr. G. Francis, S.J., replacing Rev. Fr. T.N. Siqueira, S.J., on his retirement.
On 17 Oct.1965 the O.Bs along with the staff and students celebrated the diamond jubilee in the religious life of Rev. Fr. Murphy, S.J., their long time Director. A welcome innovation that year was a cricket match between the Old Boys and the Present, played in a festive mood and not surprisingly won by the Old Boys.
The year 1965 witnessed a plethora of symposia, conferences, conventions and seminars. A symposium on Shakespeare lasting two days and consisting of 15 short papers contributed by students from many city colleges commemorated the fourth centenary of the immortal bard. A National Convention of the AICUF gathered 550 boys and girls from all over India. The Annual Conferences of the Association of Social Workers was conducted for three successive years under the sponsorship of the Social Work Dept. Each year they studied specific social problems in the city and framed practical measures for tackling them.
The sports field was by no means neglected. In 1965 the college teams were university champions in hockey, volley-ball, foot-ball, and best of all, in basket ball where five of our players were included in the university team.
1966 will go down in local history as the year of cyclones when a cargo ship was wrecked on Marina Beach. The same cyclone damaged trees in our campus and rendered homeless hundreds of people in the vicinity who were cared for by our Social Service League.
An inter-Jesuit college debate was held for the first time in August with competitors from six Jesuit Colleges in South India. In the course of the year our debating team won 13 individual and team prizes at 17 intercollegiate competitions, the kind of feat they would turn into an annual habit. In sports we also collected 11 inter-collegiate trophies.
Another innovation this year was the spontaneous generation of music makers. They were helped considerably in their development by the visits of an Australian choir, "Sing out Australia", and the American folk singer, Bill Crofut.
The Gandhi Birth Centenary was celebrated at a large meeting in Oct. 1969, where Raj Mohan Gandhi, Rukmini Devi and Fr Jerome D' Souza were guest speakers. In December, the National Convention of the All India Federation of Educational Associations was held in Loyola. The holding of the World Tamil Conference in Madras in 1968 encouraged us to hold our Tamil Seminar for two days.
The Chief Minister, Mr C.N. Annadurai, presided over College Day 1968. He promised the Archbishop who was present, to erect a statue to Veeramamunivar on the Marina, a ministerial promise that has been fulfilled. The Students' Union was inaugurated by none other than the Vice-President of India, Mr V.V. Giri, who received the oath of the office bearers.
A very welcome feature of the reopening in 1968 was the substitute the C.S.U. offered to the purposeless ragging of newcomers that used to take place. The juniors were shown around by their elder brothers and helped to acclimatize themselves to their new life and surroundings. Over Christmas and New Year (1968-69) the III National Convention of AICUF was held with over 600 delegates coming from Delhi to Colombo, Ahmedabad to Gauhati, including participants from the S.C.M. and Y.C.S. No less a person than Maharishi Mahesh Yogi addressed them at one of the sessions.
The College Debaters won all the important trophies in 1969, as they had been doing for some years, in particular the I.I.T. All India Oratorical Competition. The Loyola Amateur Dramatic Society (LADS for short) made its debut in the Museum Theater staging Willis Hall's "The Long and the Short and the Tall", an antiwar play, which went down well with the audience.
On the 9th December the hostellers staged a strike for the first time in the institution's history; the unrest quickly spread so that the college had to be closed. As a consequence Sports Day next term was cancelled. June 1970 saw a new Rector and Principal in office, Rev. Fr. C.K. Swamy, S.J., as Rector and Rev. Fr. J. Kuriakose, S.J., successful Rector in Andhra Loyola, was appointed our Principal.
The Student Council was established as a consultative and advisory body. Some students demanded cancellation of the terminal exams and began a sit-in at the gate. When authorities came to meet them down the road, the sit-in changed to a walk-out. Students in other colleges were agitating against compulsory Tamil medium, so the Govt. ordered the closure of all colleges, and the selection exams had to be dropped.
More constructive activity was shown by the N.S.S., co-ordinating all social service, with several projects in the slums, hospitals, adult education on the campus, helping the Railway with ticket checking, collecting food, clothes and medicines for the poor, entertaining them occasionally and finally `miss a meal' once a week in order to provide funds for all these good works. The College Union took the initiative in presenting to the University and Government authorities suggestions for educational reforms, most of which were accepted. The LADS staged another successful play. "One More River", at the Museum Theater winning high commendation. The Loyola Pop Group stole the show at the I.I.T. cultural contest. Lastly the college debating team won the trophy at the closely fought intercollegiate debate organised by our Union.
A floor was added to the Day scholars' Centre, giving them ample room for indoor games, while the lower floor became the dining-hall.
Year after year the college debating team is recorded as winning trophies and individual prizes in English, Tamil and Hindi; but in 1973 it fairly out-did itself, winning 15 cups and shields and 45 individual prizes. the Quiz Club annexed several trophies. In 1973 it is reported to have won 8 prizes, competing with teams as far afield as Bombay, Delhi and Kharagpur. Finally the Oratorical Club was doing its share winning 7 trophies at various elocution contests, not to mention the individual prizes.
The LADS staged plays year after year in the Museum Theatre; in particular, "Breaking Point" in 1972, "The Creeper" in 1973 and "Tuglaq" in 1975, all proved to be a great successes.
The N.S.S By 1973, though only three years old, was rendering valuable service in five major hospitals, running a free dispensary, organising a primary immunisation scheme, conducting a Gandhian Forum of Thought, a small Savings Drive, Adult Education classes and a Nutrition Programme for gipsy children. Co-operating with other social service agencies like the Guild of Service, the Little Sisters of the Poor and Mother Teresa's Home, it provided material assistance to the needy on a substantial scale. Rs.11,000 and 13 bales of clothes were collected for the Bangladesh refugees by means of a film show, a musical evening and a `Carnival'. A team of ten students worked for a few weeks as volunteers in a refugee camp in 1971. Two years later Rs.33,000 was raised by a "Star Nite" for the Poor Boys' Fund and Rs.3,500 from the proceeds of a play staged by the Jesuit students for M. Teresa's work. Finally the students of Loyola and Stella Maris together, inspired and guided by the MRA, helped to settle a long drawn out strike in Standard Motors in February 1972.
In 1972, besides scoring first classes galore in different disciplines, the degree classes counted among them four university firsts. In 1974 our students secured four first places and nine second along with three other medals and prizes. 1974 saw a new rector installed, Rev. Fr. Leo Correya, S.J., an Old Boy.
A careers Conference was organised by the Counselling Centre on the 7th March 1973, with the help of the Rotary Club, when six speakers dilated on the prospects of different avenues of employment. The Indian Overseas Bank opened a bank counter in our campus, which is increasingly patronised by both staff and students.
The Sports Dept. in 1974 could boast of more trophies than usual : 5 in basketball, 4 in badminton, 3 in volleyball, 2 in hockey and 2 in tennis. The hockey captain was selected a member of the Tamilnadu hockey team. There were two photographic exhibitions in 1974 and an intercollegiate cultural week for the first time called self depreciatingly, "Deja Vu"; An Arts Club was also formally inaugurated.
The Golden Jubilee was now looming on the horizon and steps were taken to prepare for it. To begin with, The Alumni Association, replacing the Old Boys' Association which seemed to have succumbed to inertia, was formed.