History and Milestones

College History

Madras Christian College traces its origin to the General Assembly School founded by the Rev. John Anderson, a Missionary from the Church of Scotland, on 3rd April 1837. Anderson was a pioneer in introducing English medium education in South India. He was ably assisted by Rev. Johnston, Rev. Braidwood and Margaret Locher Anderson. Rev. William Miller, who arrived in 1862, upgraded the school to a college by adding F.A. and B.A. courses in 1865 and 1867, respectively. Along with a few other Protestant missions in Madras, Miller transformed the institution and named it ‘Madras Christian College’ on 1st January 1877. His bold academic vision, supported by generous contributions from his family members, old students and the Madras Government, raised the most impressive array of college buildings and hostels (student homes) opposite the Madras High Court complex. Worthy leaders like Professors Skinner, E.M. Macphail, Meston and Hogg succeeded Miller.

The rapid expansion of the College and the crowded physical space necessitated the shifting of the college from George Town to the 400-acre sylvan Selaiyur forest in Tambaram. The ‘great migration’ took place on 30th January 1937 with a thanksgiving service in which Governor Lord Erskine participated. Professor Edward Barnes and his wife Alice Barnes, who had lived on the campus since 1932, painstakingly shaped and nurtured the atmosphere on campus by planting hundreds of rare plants and carving out dusty roads. Swiss Architect Henry Schaetti designed the majestic main buildings. The College hosted the famous International Missionary Conference in 1938. Women students were admitted from 1939.

Dr Alexander Boyd, who was the Principal for 18 long years (1938-’56), further shaped the character and ethos of the College. A host of European and Indian faculty ably assisted him. Professor J.R. Macphail was the last Scottish Principal to serve the college.  

A new era dawned in 1962 (125th Year of MCC) when Dr Chandran Devanesen took over as the first Indian Principal. He further enriched the academic stature of the College and broadened the scope of the educational process by taking it to the neighbourhood. Dr Devanesen’s successors have each contributed in their own way to the growth and development of the Institution.

The year 1978 was path-breaking as MCC became one of the earliest colleges to be granted the status of Autonomy. This status enabled the college to introduce new courses and innovative curricular changes in tune with changing times and examination reforms, focusing on learner-centred continuous assessments. Autonomy also helped the College introduce diploma and certificate courses through the School of Continuing Education. The College introduced vocational degree programmes in the Departments of History, Zoology and Commerce in 1994.

The Self-Financed Stream started in 1999. Degree programmes of contemporary relevance and employability are offered in the Self-Financed Stream. The College now has thirty-four departments under both the Aided and Self-Financed Streams offering Undergraduate, Postgraduate and Research programmes (M.Phil.& PhD).

The Choice Based Credit System (CBCS) was introduced in 2003 – 2004, enabling the College to provide more choice for the students by offering interdisciplinary options and rationalising the workload of each paper in tune with the credits awarded.

The Halls of residence for men – Selaiyur, St. Thomas’s and Heber and Martin, Margaret and Barnes for women, contribute to campus life’s rich diversity and liveliness. The sprawling sports fields and the cultural ambience of the college provide impetus towards nurturing students’ personalities and holistic development.

All key milestones in the history of the college were befittingly celebrated, and the 50th year i.e. 1887, witnessed the birth of Philosophy and History Unions, besides the Tamil and Telugu Associations. The centenary of the College celebrated in 1937 was marked by the college’s relocation to the Tambaram campus. In 1962 (125th Year) Dr S. Radhakrishnan, our distinguished alumnus, visited the college and the MCC school in his capacity of the Vice-President of India. The 150th year was commemorated in 1987, with Prime Minister Shri Rajiv Gandhi participating in the primary function and declaring the Miller Memorial Library open. Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, the then President of India, lent his gracious presence at the 170th-year celebrations in 2007 and inaugurated the Centre for International Social Work.

The Quartoseptcentennial (175th) was celebrated in the year 2012. Shri. Mohammad Hamid Ansari, Vice President of India, Prof. P.J. Kurien, Deputy Chairman of the Rajya Sabha and Dr K. Rosaiah, Governor of Tamil Nadu, graced the occasion. “Celebrating History and Serving Humanity” was the theme of the Quartoseptcentennial year. 100 kWp Solar Power Plant, Commerce Block and IGH Extension wing marked some 175th-year celebration activities. In 2013, the College was reaccredited by NAAC with an “A” Grade (Highest Grade). In 2016 the College was awarded the ‘College with Potential for Excellence’ status. The College was ranked 17th in India by the National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF) in 2020.

Madras Christian College established the ‘MCC Boyd-Tandon School of Business’ in 2016, which aims to offer world-class business education.

The College is first among the Arts and Science colleges in Tamil Nadu in meeting the Solar Purchase obligation, as it generates 50 per cent of its power needs through solar energy.

The MCC-MRF Innovation Park was inaugurated on 17th March 2021. Being one of its kind among Arts and Science Colleges in India, this landmark project funded by MRF Ltd. can host many contemporary laboratories and collaborative spaces for students, enabling them to develop innovative ideations resulting in start-ups.

The College, with its rich history of Research, embarked into the world of innovations and entrepreneurship through the launching of the MCC Institution’s Innovation Council (MCC IIC), MCC Research Colloquium (MCC RC), MCC Entrepreneurship Development Cell (MCC EDC) and MCC Ideation Club during the year 2020. The Best Innovators Award was introduced the following year to encourage the Staff members and Students to engage in active research leading to Innovation.

Prof Edward Barnes Tree Plantation Drive, which began in 2020, re-emphasized preserving the green cover on campus. Many students were driven with enthusiasm to the newly formed MCC Wildlife Conservation Club and MCC NDLI club.

New Undergraduate Programmes such as B.Com. (Professional Accounting), B.Sc. Psychology and B.Sc. Hospitality & Tourism were introduced in 2020 and 2021, respectively, apart from the revival of B.A. History (Vocational) programme specializing in Archaeology & Museology.

MCC spontaneously responded to the global pandemic, viz—Covid-19, through its MCC Covid Task Force, which reached out to the unreached during the neediest time. The MCC Covid-19 Telecounselling Centre was established through a fruitful collaboration with the District Administration. The College received the IMA Tambaram Doctors’ Day Award 2021 for its yeoman services to society during the pandemic.

The Senate of Serampore recognised MCC to be an Examination Centre for the Bachelor of Christian Studies Programme of Serampore College.

In 2022 MCC witnessed the dedication of the Meston Centre for Teaching and Learning, MCCMRF Innovation Park Prototype, Renovated Children’s Park and Research Scholars Chamber. The MCC Community College was recognized as a Training Centre by the National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC). Research Paper Publication Awards for Faculty, Scholars and Students were introduced. B.Sc. Computer Science Programme was introduced under Self-Financed Stream.

Academic excellence, spiritual vitality and social relevance remain the Institution’s guiding principles down the decades. 


General Assembly School founded in George Town
School upgraded to College with F.A. Classes
Junior B.A. Class commenced
Institution named Madras Christian College
Centenary of the Institution and shift to Tambaram

Establishment of Men’s Halls

Selaiyur Hall

St. Thomas’s Hall

Bishop Heber Hall

College hosted International Missionary Conference
Admission of women students
Establishment of Women’s Hostel in Guindy
125th year of founding of Institution
Women’s Hostel shifted to College Campus
Autonomy granted
School of Continuing Education started
150th year of founding of the Institution

The Institute for Advanced Christian Studies started.

Self-Financed Stream started (MCA in 1993)
Introduction of Choice Based Credit System (CBCS)
Margaret Hall, the second Hall for women dedicated
Centre for Media Studies inaugurated
175th year of founding of Institution
MCC Community College started

Global Alumni Reunion held

Introduction of B.Voc. courses

Installation of 100 KVA Solar Power Plant

Inauguration of the Indoor Sports Stadium

UGC - College with Potential for Excellence

Barnes Hall – third Women’s Hall dedicated

MCC Alumni Association 125th year Global Reunion

MCC Boyd Business School


“Sport for All” programme commenced

Renovated Mc Nicol Lounge for Women dedicated


USAID – ASHA 500 kWp Solar Power Plant commissioned

MCC Kotagiri Community College

MCC-Hanshin Hope Centre

QSC Building

Modern Students’ Centre


Airconditioning of the Anderson Hall & The Bishop Heber Chapel

MCC Pulicat Community College

Foundation Laying of MCC Boyd-Tandon School of Business


Sewage Treatment Plant (STP) installed

MCC Research Colloquium (MCC RC)

MCC Institution’s Innovation Council (MCC IIC) 

MCC Entrepreneurship Development Cell (MCC EDC)

Launch of Ideation Club

Prof. Edward Barnes Tree Plantation Drive 2020


Inauguration of MCC-MRF Innovation Park 

Setting up of MCC Covid Task Force

MCC Covid19 Tele-Counselling Centre

IMA Tambaram Doctors Day 2021 Award

Recognized as Examination Centre for Bachelor of Christian Studies under Serampore College

Launch of Wildlife Conservation Club

MCC National Digital Library of India Club

Introduction of Best Innovator Awards

Recognition of the School of Continuing Education as Learners’ Support Centre of the University of Madras

Expansion of the office of the DSA with Associate DSAs for Aided and SFS

Initiated Seed Money Grant to faculty members


Recognition of MCC Community College as Training Centre under the National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC)

Launch of Meston Centre for Teaching & Learning

Inauguration of the Research Scholars Chamber

Inauguration of the MCC MRF Innovation Park Prototype

Paper Publication Awards for Faculty, Scholars and Students

Establishment of Vice-Principals’ Office (Administration & SFS)