Rector Forman Christian College (A Chartered University) Jonathan Addleton while talking about the 75th anniversary of Pakistan said that the Chief Justice who administered oath to Quaid-e-Azam for the first time as Governor General on Aug 18, 1947 was an old Formanite.
“Now if we look through the windows of the past, it will be known that FCCU was there at the time of formation of Pakistan and this institution contributed to the early years of Pakistan. With all the trauma of partition, our dorms became a temporary hospital and that actually became the precursor to later-on it became UCH and Christian Hospital. Pre-1947, FCCU had Muslim students, but also Hindus and Sikhs and most of them left by 1947 but the graduates from that time had an influence in the 50s and 60s with the Civil Service,” he explained.
The Rector, while speaking about the history of FCCU, informed that FCCU was founded in 1864 with a vision to impart quality education to the people of this region by Dr Charles W Forman, a Presbyterian missionary from the USA.
“The college was initially known as the Lahore Mission College, but in 1894 the name was officially changed to Forman Christian College in honor of the founder. In the early years, degrees were awarded through Calcutta University. College level instruction was interrupted in 1869 due to the illness of key faculty members. College classes resumed in 1886, with degrees being awarded through the University of the Punjab. In 2004, FCCU became a chartered University and from 2009 onwards has awarded its own degrees,” he said adding that it was founded to contribute to the people of Pakistan’s academic, economic, and social development. From the premises of a small college, FCCU has grown into an academically robust university that offers a wide range of opportunities to its students to grow and reach their full potential. FCCU welcomes students from all backgrounds and all regions of Pakistan and abroad to a university where they live, grow, and learn, meet some of the greatest thinkers in their chosen disciplines and make lifelong friendships- a place they can truly call home,” he said.
Jonathan Addleton further said that FCCU is an HEC-recognized, W-category University as it currently has over 7,500 students in its University & College sections and over 250 full-time faculty members in the University with over 200 PhDs, and over 30,000 registered alumni.
Addleton also informed that the university offers Baccalaureate and Postgraduate programs and the 4-year Baccalaureate Honors program, started in 2005, offers an American style, world-class liberal arts education. New postgraduate programs started with the MBA in 2007 and now include PhDs, MPhils, Masters and Executive education programs in specific disciplines.
He said that FCCU’s generous financial aid program and scholarships for deserving students make high-quality education accessible to students from various socioeconomic backgrounds and it has an extraordinary community that is characterized by its learning environment, diversity, excellence in service and commitment to its values of discipline, justice, and respect.
“Our students come to FCCU for various reasons; chief among them is the quality of education we provide. Our values of commitment to excellence and service to community have remained strong throughout our 158- year history, just as our academic plans have expanded to include 26 majors at the Baccalaureate level and 23 Postgraduate programs that meet international standards. Our highly qualified faculty and staff are dedicated to achieving excellence in teaching and support to our students who come from across Pakistan and abroad to study in our University & College. Our 35+ student societies provide opportunities for personal growth, while our international education programs will open doors for transformative experiences. We place special emphasis on building an inclusive community that produces an environment that is safe and friendly and makes education a joy for everyone. You will find people here who share passion for knowledge, and for making a difference in the society. Our campus boasts beautiful buildings and grounds, but apart from that, you will find that there is a wide range of activities going on at FCCU. No matter which region you come from, we promise you a variety of eye-opening experiences. We welcome students to experience the amazing opportunities that FCCU has to offer, to join a vibrant community of students, friends, researchers, teachers, and scholars; and to recognize their potential for creative learning,” he added.
According to Rector, for many decades, FCCU has been widely recognized for its meritorious work of nurturing and consolidating the social and intellectual capital of Pakistan.
“The FCCU motto, ‘By love serve one another’ has been a guiding principle for Formanites throughout the history of the college. Among the graduates of the college are two Presidents of Pakistan, a Prime Minister of India, the first Chief Justice of Pakistan, a number of Governors and Chief Ministers of the Punjab and other provinces, an Attorney General of Pakistan, two Foreign Ministers of Pakistan, a President of the Security Council of the United Nations, numerous Ambassadors to other nations, a Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission, a Chairman of the Senate, several Speakers of the National Assembly, numerous Generals and Admirals and an equally impressive list of leaders in the fields of education, law, medicine, arts and entertainment,” he informed.
The Rector said that academic excellence and the preparation of leaders who understand the value of service have been the hallmarks of education at the institution since its inception and one of the premier colleges of the subcontinent, FCCU has distinguished itself through its remarkable graduates and the achievements of its faculty.
“It has built a reputation for providing outstanding education with innovation and pioneering work in its curriculum, admission policies, a range of extracurricular activities, and the rigor of its academic programs,” he informed.
According to Rector, in recent years, formanits have made a name for themselves in other sectors, including IT (information technology).
“Personalities like Salim Ghori of NetSol are also related to FCCU as there are Formanites. We are a country of 220 million people and we need universities. In Pakistan, obviously those that are able to attend university and maybe want a postgraduate, it’s a privilege because not everybody gets that opportunity but I think a country of this size and this complexity needs those kinds of graduates. I’ll put it firstly in the context of higher education. Obviously over the years, you know the higher education sector has grown in many ways both in the private sector and the public sector. I think at Forman, we are sort of fortunate because we can take a long-term view going back to 1864 and you know that history, that 100-150+ year history, you know is part of it. What’s remarkable to me is, we’ve been talking a little bit about the way that former alumni have had an impact,” he added.
Speaking about the higher education system he said that higher education needs to fill these needs of changing times.
“I think there are a couple other aspects about Forman like some of the stuff I mentioned before at the talk is the liberal arts education aspect about it. It’s a broader kind of program so someone doing a program in computer science will also take a class in English literature or students that mix together. I think in that concept of higher education, the idea of the breath of your education. You need to have some depth as well but the breath is also something that is emphasized. The other schools, we had a group from Agha Khan University and they’re going in liberal arts as well and wanted to see how we work those things through. We have got connections and good ties to LUMS as well, and of course we have the University of Punjab and those schools as well but the higher education sector is very important for Pakistan and I’d like to think that Forman makes good contributions to that higher education sector,” he said.
Addleton added, “in terms of improvement, the Higher Education Commission (HEC) provides an overall framework and we try to live within that framework and we try to contribute to it and in some ways we actually have something called the center of learning and teaching in terms of improving the quality of classroom instruction. I mentioned HEC because they are aware of some of our programs and reach out to our own professors and ask what we need in higher education. The classroom experience for an undergraduate is really important, and it can’t just be a sort of rote memorization path, we have to have a lively classroom discussion where you talk to each other. Before I came here, I had my foreign service career where I was three years in a classroom and so I’m very sympathetic to the challenges that professors have in making it interesting and formative to a younger generation,” he said.