Past students of the 155-year-old institution honour distinguished alumni
St. Xavier’s College Calcutta Alumni Association (SXCCAA) – Australia & New Zealand chapter, hosted its second ‘Xaverian Fellowship Night’ in Sydney on 25 July at the Celebrations Indian Restaurant and Functions Centre, NSW. The first one was held on 8 July at the Irish Times Pub, Melbourne.
Xaverian Fellowship events are platforms for the alumni of the 155-year-old St Xavier’s College, Kolkata, who are settled in Australia and New Zealand to re-connect with their alma mater. “SXCCAA also helps its graduates who arrive in Australia for higher studies, transit into their new surroundings,” said Subhro Bhattacharya, a 2005 Economics Honours graduate of the premier institute.
On this momentous occasion, SXCCAA ANZ recognised the work and achievements of their alumni in Australia with two awards — the ‘Xaverian Community Leader Award’ and ‘Xaverian Young Achiever Award’. Zarir Bamji, a 1964 graduate of the college, received the ‘Xaverian Community Leader Award’ amidst the august presence of their illustrious alumni in Sydney. “Zarir Bamji was a unanimous choice for the selection committee for his outstanding service to the society at large, both in Australia and overseas,” said Mukesh Garg, Vice President of the Australian chapter.
In the Melbourne edition of the Xaverian Fellowship Night, Dharmesh Parmar, was felicitated with the ‘Xaverian Young Achiever Award 2015’ and it was handed over to him by Reverend Fr. Dominic Savio, Rector of St. Xavier’s College, Kolkata, India, which has been accorded with ‘College of Excellence’ and ‘Heritage Institution’ statuses by the University Grants Commission of India. The criteria for this award were outstanding personal accomplishments and active participation in the growth and development of the alumni association. The nominees for this award were Prosenjit Dutta, Corporate Banking Manager, HSBC Australia, and Anubhav Ghatak, National Operations Manager, Mercedes Benz Australia & New Zealand.
In both the fellowship events, strategies were discussed to grow the association and work towards Vision 2020, the college’s blueprint for development in the next six years, which includes building two new campuses in order to attain university status by 2020.
St. Xavier’s College has already started two new campuses this year. Addressing journalists in India, principal J Felix Raj SJ said a new college was set up at Asansol in Bardhaman district, West Bengal, India, which commenced classes from the 2015-16 academic year, and another campus was established at St Lawrence School, Kolkata, India.
“The present gross enrolment rate in India is 19 per cent which should go up to 25 per cent by 2020. We have the capacity to accommodate 8,000 students, yet we received 45,000 applications this year, which means we need to accommodate more students,” said Fr. Felix Raj, and added that in order to increase the enrolment rate of students in educational institutions, colleges should respond by academic and physical expansion. “We aim to enrol about 16,000 students by 2020. Expansion is a necessity but the quality of education should not suffer,” Fr. Felix Raj stated.
The writer is Secretary, SXCAA – ANZ