Kothamangalam: Prof M P Varghese's contributions to the field of Kerala's higher education were huge and he always wanted the state to move ahead in that sector, former Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said on Wednesday. He was delivering the inaugural address of the year-long birth centenary celebrations of Prof Varghese, the eminent educationist who founded the Mar Athanasius College, Kothamangalam. Mar Baselios Thomas-I inaugurated the event by lighting the holy lamp.
“All the development that has taken place in Kothamangalam is the result of Prof Varghese's far-sighted vision,” Chandy said.
Former UGC vice chairman Dr V N Rajasekharan Pillai delivered the keynote address. He said Prof Varghese wanted all colleges to grow up to be universities. “He also wanted top quality deemed-univesrities in self-financing sector,” Pillai remembered.
Mar Athanasius College Association chairman H. G. Dr Mathews Mar Aphrem chaired the commemorative function held at the Baselios Paulose Indoor Stadium, Kothamangalam.
The Mar Athanasius College Association is organising the centenary celebrations. Dean Kuriakose, MP, and Antony John, MLA were among those who spoke.
A great scholar and administrator, Prof. Varghese was elected an MLA in 1952. The next year, he became the founder secretary of the Mar Athanasius College Association which established the Mar Athanasius College, Kothamangalam, in 1955 and a group of institutions in the next few decades.
Prof. Varghese served as the principal of the college from 1963 to 1982. He was also an author and a committed social worker. He was at the forefront of a fight against the move to locate a nuclear power plant at Bhoothathankettu in 1980. His interventions played an important role in prompting the Kerala government to form a policy in favour of establishing more private and self-financing colleges in the state. A recipient of several honours and awards, Prof. Varghese died in 2011.