PRINCIPAL’S MESSAGE TO THE ASPIRANTS
Welcome to St Stephens College. Many of the visitors to this page will be those anxious to enter College as students. Welcome to you…
St Stephen’s College is a unique experience. To be part of such an experience is what many aspire to be; some few get to live it. As we get ready to welcome a fresh set of young men and women, it may be useful to try and see what sets St Stephen’s College apart and how you too, can become a part. How and why is it that most of the young people who go out from here have made positive and significant contributions to the fields that are involved in? And these areas are numerous – administration, teaching, sport, science, technology, business, aviation, marketing, politics, entrepreneurship… the list is endless. And everywhere our junior members, as the students are referred to, have made a mark. I believe that three qualities set Stephanians apart. An individual commitment to academic excellence; a great concern for the society in which they work, live or settle in; and a positive sense of creating value at a higher, institutional level – these are the qualities that have helped establish St Stephen’s College as one of its kind; and this is something that we look for, constantly.
The College places a premium on individual excellence. We do not expect everyone who comes here to be at the top of their respective field, but we do expect them to put in their best. Towards this end, to quote a former colleague “we are all masterpieces in the making, not finished products” would be appropriate, for it captures the spirit of what makes the junior members special. They are encouraged to think, to act in a responsible manner and to take those bold steps that will help push the limits of intellectual curiosity to help advance knowledge. In this the young minds are encouraged and nurtured by the faculty, known as the senior members. Our faculty are among the best anywhere in India. What makes them so is their commitment to their chosen field. In Physics, or English or History if we have students who are influenced for life and go on to make a mark in science, literature or academics then, a small part of immense contribution can be traced back to the faculty here. That’s the case with the other disciplines also. Men and women who will go that extra mile, who will come on a day when no one else will, to make sure that the students can carry out their experiments, men and women who labour and agonize over the assignments that the junior members have turned in so that in the tutorial sessions the junior members go back a little more aware of not just their subject, but more importantly of themselves; men and women who through their own life examples turn into role models for the junior members. This is what encourages our junior members to excel, both within and outside the classroom.
At St Stephen’s members – both senior and junior – are encouraged to be sensitive to people. People make societies, states and nations. Junior members are nurtured to respect individual freedom while at the same time they are evenly encouraged to get involved positively in the life of the people around them. So, when you come here you will find that the College community engages not only with the less privileged around the College campus but also with ideas which are in their books and which are played out in the real world through politics, enterprise or research. On any afternoon of a working day, after College hours, it is a common sight to see a group of young men and women huddled with a faculty member debating a book or to have our junior members engage with leaders from politics or business with relevant questions, or to see young people absorbed in rehearsing together for a play or a performance. While ideas are important, the College has, through its work and mission, underlined the fact that it is only through people that these ideas gain relevance, else they remain abstract and very often, sadly, irrelevant.
You will find that the College has created value and not just in the academic space. The members of our community have added value in terms of ideas, experience and commitment to the society and the world at large. This is best encapsulated, I feel, in the manner in which the College was founded. When the Cambridge Brotherhood in Delhi, way back in 1880, realised that there was no College for higher education for Indian students, they began this institution. A few individuals who had the larger good of the society, of the nation, at heart. From there began this long tradition of individual excellence, a commitment to people and the urge to add value to everything.
You may be nervous about the entire admission process. Fair enough. The application process helps us to see what you were good at. The written exam was structured to give you an alternate platform to perform well, in case you get jittery at the interviews. The interviews themselves will turn out to be a pleasant surprise where you will be encouraged to answer questions that seek to help you showcase your best. So, go ahead and do your best. We will be watching you, to nurture you.
Welcome to St Stephen’s College.
PROF. JOHN VARGHESE