30 May 2012
The CMS College (CMS College Kottayam) is the first college in Kerala, India. It was started by the Church Missionary Society, England, in 1817 when no institution existed in the then-Travancore state to teach English. The Rev. Benjamin Bailey was the first principal of The College.The government welcomed the College as "a place of general education whence any demands of the state for officers to ...fill all departments of public service would be met". In the early years, the curriculum included the study of Latin, Greek, Hebrew, Mathematics, History and Geography besides English, Malayalam, Sanskrit and Syriac. In 1838, the College was shifted to the wooded hillock — the present site — commanding views of the distant Western Ghats. One of the oldest buildings in the campus is Room 52 or "Grammar School" as it was then named. The College magazine in Malayalam was started in 1864 by Principal Richard Collins, after whom the college library is named.
In 1857 the college was affiliated to Madras University soon after its incorporation and the college presented students for the Matriculation examination. The college provided free education to all the students until 1855 when the fee of 1 Rupee a month began to be collected from each student. The total number of students in 1870 was only 129. In 1880, the Maharaja of Travancore who visited the College observed: "Long before the state undertook the humanizing task of educating the subjects, the Christian Missionaries had raised the beacon of knowledge in the land".
In 1890, two-year classes were started and the first batch of students was presented for the F.A Examination in 1892. It was in 1938 that female students were admitted in the College for the first time.
In 1840, the number of students in the College was 220. In 1950, Degree classes were started and by 1960, the number of students in the college rose to 1250. Postgraduate classes were started in 1959. The college is now affiliated to Mahatma Gandhi University, Kottayam.
In 1981, the Synod of the Church of South India transferred the management of the college to the C.S.I. Madhya Kerala Diocese.
Thy Word Is Truth is the motto of the College.
In 1999 the college was accredited by the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) with five star status. Later in 2004 the University Grants Commission (UGC) accorded the status of college with Potential for Excellence (CPE).
The alumni of the college include Dr. K. R. Narayanan, former President of India; Mr.K. P. S. Menon; formulator of Indian foreign policy; Sardar K. M. Panicker, former ambassador to China; Dr. E.C.G Sudharshan, world famous physicist; Padmabhooshan Dr. Jacob Chandy, noted neurosurgeon; Justice K. T. Thomas, former Judge of the Supreme Court of India; Padmabhooshan Sri. K. M. Mathew, former chief Editor of Malayala Manorama; Mr.Oommen Chandy, Chief Minister of Kerala; Mr.Suresh Kurup, former Member of Parliament; Etc.