History of Wilson College
In 1832, the college was founded as part of Dr. John Wilson's institute and was also recognized as the Ambroli English School. Beginning as Ambroli English School in Girgaum, Mumbai, it later saw several changes of sites and names, eventually being called the Wilson School. The collegiate section, from which Wilson College evolved, came about in 1836. On 14th December 1861, the collegiate section of Wilson's institution under the name of Free General Assembly's Institution became the first privately owned, non-government institution to be affiliated to the university. Almost a century later, the management of the college came under an autonomous Board of Governors in India. Since 1963, the college functions under the management of John Wilson Education Society. Wilson College is a Christian minority institution and aims at education of the Christian community and extends its facilities and services to other communities too.
There is also an annual magazine publication at the Wilson College known as The Wilsonian. This magazine was first printed and published from Pune by the Scottish Mission Industries Co. Ltd. on behalf of the Wilson College Literary Society with the first issue appearing in the year 1909.
Architecture of Wilson College
Constructed in 1889, the Wilson College was designed by John Adams in the domestic Victorian Gothic style. The building is noted for its large first-floor classrooms with interesting teakwood trusses. The use of red terracotta tiles in the first floor and the second floor makes the floor look different and these are in a relatively good condition. The arched veranda with its segmental sandstone arches on the ground floor forms one of the common features of the building. The deep over-hanging verandas on the west facade facing the sea form a buffer between the classrooms and the exteriors. Many original teakwood doors and windows still exist in the college and the grand timber staircase with the multi-foil circular panel design in the handrail is another exquisite feature. There is a library, a chapel and an assembly hall and outside in the courtyard is a white marble fountain which is based on one of the famous designs of the famous Italian sculptor Gianlo Renzo Bernini.
Facilities of Wilson College
The various facilities that the Wilson College has to offer are listed below:
Library: Wilson College library is amongst the oldest in Mumbai Colleges. With a collection of more than 80,000 books, periodicals and journals of national and international repute, it has served the academic community. The CD and DVD section also is fast expanding. Amongst its treasures are Abu Faizal’s Akbarnamah, almost all volumes of the Oriental Christian Spectator which was started by Dr. John Wilson, books written on and by Dr John Wilson, issues from the very first edition of the Wilsonian magazine in 1909 and several volumes of the Calendar of the University of Bombay dating from 1864.
Hostels: The Wilson College runs three hostels to provide accommodation for its students. St. Andrew's House is one of the two boy's hostels run by the College, and was established in 1961. And the other boy’s hostel is the Mackichan Hall, which was established in 1914. Built in 1932 is the Pandita Rambai Hostel for girls by Lady Sykes, the wife of the then Governor of Mumbai.
The Chapel: The Wilson College Chapel is open during the college hours for private prayer and meditation. Short prayer services that include hymns and Bible reading are conducted every day during the morning and the afternoon recess in the Chapel. Special services are held during Christmas as well as at the beginning and at the end of the academic year. The Chapel also provides counselling services and even organises a festival called the Chapel-O-Fiesta with games and events.
The Andrew’s Vision Centre: Popularly known as the AVC, it came into existence in 2008. The residents of the Saint Andrew's House supported the initiative and raised funds for the establishment of the AVC through Sandy-fest, a special festival which was conducted by the Saint Andrew's House. The motto of the Andrew's Vision Centre is "To help visually challenged students to be educationally, technologically, psychologically and socially enriched so that they are better equipped to face the challenges of life".
The College Gymkhana: In 1909, a plot of land was acquired on the Kennedy Sea Face on which a pavilion for Gymkhana was built in 1916. The College Gymkhana on the Marine Drive meets the requirements of all outdoor games like football, volleyball, cricket and badminton. Facilities for indoor games like chess, carom and table tennis are also available.
Other than these there is the counselling centre, the college nature club, canteen, a political science association, etc.
Courses of Wilson College
The Wilson College offers a range of courses and has various subjects catering to the different interests of its students. The college also offers 5 unaided and professional undergraduate courses- Bachelor of Mass Media, Bachelor of Management Studies, and Bachelor of Science in computer Science, Bachelor of Science in Biotechnology and Bachelor of Science in Information Technology.
Festivals of Wilson College
The Wilson College hosts four major fests around the year. The annual intra-college fest, Ole takes place during the month of December or January over a course of two days. It conducts various competitions such as group dance, football and cricket, rangoli and mehendi making and singing. It is primarily organized by the NSS, the student council and the cultural centre. Ole acts as an ice breaker for the new students of the Junior College and looks to integrate and build confidence amongst them. Then there is Polaris, which is the oldest mass media festival in Mumbai, dating back to 2001 and takes place in July every year. It is also the first inter-collegiate festival in the academic year. The students also started the programmes called Rainbow and Adorea.
Alumni of Wilson College
The Wilson College alumni include former Prime Minister of India Morarji Desai, B.G. Kher, cricketer Dilip Sardesai, poet Nissim Ezekiel, Jane D'souza, VKRV Rao (founder-director of Delhi School of Economics) and Kevin Pinto.