A Bishop's dream and a Maharaja's munificence culminated in the establishment of St. Philomena's College on October 9, 1946. His Excellency the Rt. Rev. Dr. Rene Feuga, the First Bishop of Mysore, vacated his mansion to make room for classes and the Wodeyars, the Mysore Royal family, donated 29 acres of land to the college.
It was history in the making in more ways than one and the first group of 380 Philomenites was aware of it. They knew that they were stepping into the very first of the First Grade Colleges in the Royal City, affiliated to the University of Mysore. Even more importantly, St. Philomena's was the first private Degree Science College in the erstwhile Mysore Region.
Before its foundation, the college received its motto-from His Holiness the Pope. The Holy Father chose the maxim-Caritas vestra magis ac magis abundet in scientia- May your love grow richer in knowledge. Caritas in scientia - the first and last words of the quotation - became the motto of the college.
All through her fledgling years, the college's future was shaped by teachers of outstanding calibre, among them the doyen of the Modern Movement in Kannada poetry, Prof. Gopalakrishna Adiga and the renowned space scientist and former Chairman of ISRO, Prof. U.R. Rao and a host of other great pioneering Principals and teachers.
Now, 63 years later, the student strength has multiplied manifold, buildings have mushroomed and courses and infrastructure have proliferated. Each year, St. Philomena's re-invents itself to adjust to the needs of a fast-changing world, harmonizing the new with the old. Old blocks, new blocks - the process continues, adding to the diversity of the campus. Traditional courses co-exist with the newer, more challenging and contemporary courses such as Biotechnology, Biochemistry, Microbiology, Electronics, Computer Science, Social Work, Communication and Journalism, UGC-sponsored vocational course in Functional English. Bachelor of of Business Management (BBM), Bachelor of Computer Application (BCA) and UGC Add On courses in Biotechnology, Industrial Chemistry, Electric and Electronic Equipment Maintenance and Computer Networking.
As the college races past yet another milestone in history - its Diamond Jubilee - many signposts stand out along the way.
Mission and Goals reflected in the Curricula
The story of any ground-breaking community is the story of torch-bearers and extraordinary human beings. Our founders were driven by a sense of mission - for them education was not just an investment in future career opportunities: it was a means to self-realization and a guide to wholesome living.
These pioneers laid the foundations and over the years, the temple of learning built by them has grown, drawing students from every corner of India and some from across the seas. During the academic year 2008-09, we had students from 23 different states of Indian and 19 different nationalities. Together, they represent a microcosm of our country, with its rich composite culture.They come to study - first the conventional subjects and later the more current disciplines. They come also to sing, dance and play - hockey, cricket, football, volley ball, basket ball, shuttle badminton and table-tennis. Their sporting talents come to the fore at the college's Annual Athletic Meet and some go on to represent the college at state and national Athletics and Games.
Inculcating Life Skills in students has been the objective of Value Education at St. Philomena's. The NCC, NSS and the Rotaract Club, Nature Club, Adventure Club, Fine Arts Club, Literary clubs enhance social awareness and add further worth to education.
Seminars, panel discussions and guest lectures support classroom learning and co-curricular activities have placed the college firmly on the cultural map. The list of Clubs and Associations at St. Philomena's continues to grow while additional experience comes through field trips and excursions.
Leadership and Personality Development programmes help boost confidence and morale on campus and the Total Quality Management (TQM) Cell at the college, conducts programmes for staff and students.
Expanding its horizons, the college, in collaboration with the Punjab Technical University, Jalandhar, has introduced Distance Education programmes in Bio-technology and Information Technology (Post-graduate courses), Bio-informatics and Hotel Management (Under-graduate courses) and a P.G. Diploma in Hospital Management. St. Philomena's is also a Study Centre for the P.G., U.G. and Diploma Courses in Science, Arts and Commerce offered by Kuvempu University, Shimoga, The College also offers a number of courses of Indira Gandhi National Open Univerity (IGNOU) under the Convergence Scheme.
As for the methods employed in teaching, there is freedom to innovate. Encouraged by a far-sighted and progressive Principal, teachers as well as students stretch their wings and accept challenges both within the college and in society at large. Even as it changes, St. Philomena's continues to hold on to its traditions and values, its poetry and pizzazz, instilling a sense of belonging in all who pass through the portals of this college.
Our vision for the future
For Sixty three years St Philomena's has held steadfast to human values and academic excellence. Its activities are spread over a vast area covering spacious classrooms, halls, libraries, laboratories, an auditorium, Conference Hall with multi-media and vide-conference facilities, playing fields, etc.
From its small beginning in 1946, the college has grown. Today there are 32 Departments in all - including the Science, Arts, Commerce, Management and Social Work Streams and the Languages. In addition to the existing PG Departments in the Distance Education Mode, the college has started more PG courses in Chemistry and Social Work and proposes to set up a Science Research Lab in the near future.
But, while an educational institution may pride itself on its imposing buildings and beautiful campus, its true glory lies in the achievements of its students. Generally, the successful functioning of a college is measured by the achievements of its alumni in various spheres-in University examinations, sports, debates, competitions, professional life and so on. The College has produced many educationists, scientists, artists, bureaucrats and professionals who have carried forward the torch of learning and social concern lit in their alma mater.
The commemoration of past achievements should spur on the present generation to achieve even greater heights in education, research and service.
Our country is on the threshold of exciting and phenomenal changes - changes that will have impact on every aspect of our lives. It is now imperative for institutions to keep pace with the times pro-actively, incorporating change as an ongoing process, rather than waiting for change to overtake them. On the other hand, these challenges open up vast opportunities for growth, especially in the field of education, and the College is ready to accept them.
Well into its second half-century, St Philomena's looks to the future with hope and the day when autonomy will become a reality. It looks forward to so many exciting prospects - framing its own challenging and relevant syllabi, conducting its own examinations, including extra-curricular activities in the overall student assessment, following the semester system, with more de-centralized curriculum with horizontal and vertical mobility, making the college socially relevant, and shaping Philomenites as men and women who can hold their own in the world and change society in tangible ways.