- Fr. Roshan Tirkey
Kolkata: Nihil Ultra! Nothing Beyond ! Excellence. A dream Father Depelchin, SJ and his six Jesuit companions had seen in 1860 was fulfilled when the First Academic Session of St. Xavier’s University and the Lakshmi & Ushal Mittal Foundation Building (Academic Block) was inaugurated on 7th July, 2017 at Rajar hat in the esteemed presnce of Ms. Mamata Banerjee, the Hon’ble Chief Minister of West Bengal, Mr. L.N. Mittal, Xaverian & Chairman& CEO, Arcelor Mittal, Dr.Partha Chatterjee, Hon’ble Minister-in-Charge of Higher Education (WB), His GraceArchbishop Thomas D’Souza,political leaders, bureaucrats,judiciaries, academicians, bishop, priests, nuns, Alumni/ae, faculty, students and their parents. Aribbon-cutting ceremony and the unveiling of the plaques by Ms. Mamata Banerjee heralded the beginning of St. Xavier’s University, Kolkata. His Grace Archbishop Thomas D’Souza blessed a marble statue of St.Francis Xavier, the patron of the university, at the ‘Hall of Fame’ of the academic building.
Around 5000 students and the invitees, present in an air-conditioned shamiyana, were overwhelmed to see the ever energetic and enthusiastic Chief Minister of West Bengal accompanied by steel baron, Mr. L. N. Mittal and other dignitaries. In the opening prayer, Fr. Dominic Savio, Rector, invoked God’s blessings from the scriptures of different Religions. He stated,‘Knowledge is the holiest of the holies’, and prayed ‘shanti mantra’ for the students: ‘Lead me from unreality to reality; lead me from darkness to light; lead me from death to immortality.
’ Fr. Jeyaraj Veluswamy, Jesuit Provincial and Chancellor of the university, declared 7th July, 2017 a historic day expressed his heartfelt gratitude to ‘didi’, the Chief Minister, for her whole hearted support to open a Jesuit university in the land of Vivekananda, Tagore and Mother Teresa. He appreciated Mr. and Mrs. Mittal for their generosity to actualize the ‘Vision 2020’ dreamt by St.Xavier’s College, Kolkata, unde the charismatic leadership of Fr. Felix Raj. Fr. Veluswamy invited the students to imbibe the Xaverian Campus Culture of‘Magis’.In his address, Mr. Mittal expressed his deep emotional bond with St. Xavier’s College and emphasized the power of education he had experienced there. Though he graduated from St. Xavier’s College in 1969 his memories of college life, especially of Fr. Joris, were fresh. He was happy to be the part of the ‘Vision 2020’and congratulated Fr. Felix Raj for working tirelessly to transform this vision into reality. He also iterated that the reputation of college gives tremendous confidence among students to excel in their life. Mr. Mittal wished the students with the words of Theodore Roosevelt: ‘Keep your eyes on the stars, and your feet on the ground. The Chief Guest, Ms. Mamata Banerjee, marked the commencement of the First Academic Session by lighting ‘panchaprodip’ and released the First Academic Calendar of the university. In her address, Ms. Banerjee congratulated the Xavieriaqn Family graduating from a college to a university and offered her support to make St. Xavier’s University atop university of the world. She appreciated the contribution of the Christian missionaries in the field of education and expressed her willingness to give more than what St. Xavier’s expects from the government.Fr. Felix Raj presented mementos to the guests and proposed a vote of thanks. He shared with the gathering that the ‘Vision 2020’ was a long journey undertaken in 2011 and it had a long way to go. It was an emotional moment when he said, ‘If it’s a work of God, it will continue.’ Fr. Felix Raj had special words of gratitude to Ms. Mamata Banerjee for allocating a 17 acre land for the university. He expressed his gratefulness to Mittals for their generous contributions and encouraging presence at the function. He also acknowledged the efforts undertaken by the staff, students and the Alumniae to fulfill the ‘Vision 2020’ and encouraged them to be associated with this project.
In the end, Fr. Felix Raj christened the new students as ‘Xaverians’ and informed them, ‘once a Xaverian, always a Xaverian.’ The inaugural programme concluded with a twenty minute audio-visual presentation on ‘The Journey from 1860
and The Road Ahead’ depicting the glorious history and the future aspirations of St. Xavier’s, Kolkata; and a twenty-five minute cultural extravaganza symbolizing St. Xavier’s breaking all barriers (Bandhvengedao) and emerging victorious ( Alokereijharnadharay ) to continue to receive the showers of God’s blessings. A tiny seed sown in 1860 has grown into a mighty tree and has given birth to a university. The first academic session will offer six courses: Bachelor of Commerce, Bachelor of Management Studies (BMS), Master in Commerce, Master in Mass Communication, Master in English, and Master of Social Work (MSW).