ALUMNAE ASSOCIATION

The Alumnae Association of Women’s Christian College was formed in 1917, two years after the College was established. Any student or member of the faculty whso has been in College for one semester or more can become a member, on payment of a life membership fee of Rs. 500/- (India) or Rs. 2000/- (for those abroad). The fees are liable for upward revision with changing times and costs.

The aim of the Alumnae Association is to keep alive in the hearts of alumnae, memories of College, its ideals and values and to remind the College of its daughters who are scattered all over the world. The annual publication, the Alumnae Sunflower, the alumnae clubs and programmes serve to maintain a link between alumnae and the College.

The over three thousand strong Alumnae Association is kept going by an Executive Committee consisting of elected and ex-officio members. It functions from the College. The Committee meets at least 10 times in the year and plans programmes – both social and fund raising. It attends to all matters of the Association and to the management of the McDougall Memorial Nursery School. A meeting of the General Body of the Alumnae Association is held once a year, at the end of June.

The Alumnae Association has instituted Prizes and Funds down through the years – the McDougall Memorial fund for Social Services, the Coon prize for Science, the Rivett prize for the best article in the College magazine, the Dr. Elizabeth George Grant for a graduating student of the College who joins a B.Ed. course, the Dr. Florence Theophilus book prize for Nutrition and Dietetics, the Clock Tower Maintenance Fund, the Chetpet Outreach Fund and Good Samaritan Fund for a current student of the College who is in a life-threatening situation and whose family is in dire financial straits. The Physics and Chemistry quadrangles in the Science Building as well Main Hostel Quadrangle are now landscaped by the Alumnae. The little traffic island across the Auditorium has also been greened.

Gifts to the College from the Alumnae Association include artist Roy Chowdhry’s oil painting of Miss McDougall which used to hang at the entrance to the Science Building. It was unveiled in 1936. The years took its toll of it and so four and a half decades later the Alumnae Executive Committee commissioned an artist from the College of Arts, Chennai, to restore it. This was done and on his advice it was hung in a more protected place, in the Library.

The big brass lamp which is used for various ceremonies and is a symbol of the College motto ‘Lighted to Lighten’ is another gift from the alumnae. The Golden Jubilee of the College was marked by the gift of a purse of one lakh rupees. The quickest drive for funds was, however, for ceiling fans for the rooms of every hostel. This was the alumnae’s gift for the seventieth birthday of the College.

The contribution made by alumnae to the community at large has chiefly been at Mohammedan’s Gardens, off Greames Road in Chennai. Adult literacy work was started there in 1938 followed by medical work. But alumnae wished for ‘social work of a more permanent nature’. The McDougall Fund for permanent social service was started. Marjorie Sykes who came to teach in the English department of the College in 1942 demanded and secured permission to live ‘in the community’. She settled into a small house at Mohammedan’s Gardens. Sensing the acute need there, she gave a room to be used as a day care centre. Persistent efforts by Miss Sykes, Mary Masillamani and Miss Manuel helped secure a plot of land in 1947 on Shafee Mohammed Road in that neighbourhood where now stands the small nursery school named after the first Principal of the College, Eleanor McDougall. There are ninety children, two teachers, an ayah and a watchman. A grant from the Government pays the salaries of the teachers but all other expenses, inclusive of a nutritious noon-meal and an evening snack of flavoured Aavin milk or biscuits or sundal for the children, are met through donations from alumnae and friends.

Money raised by the Annual Food Fair – a combined effort of alumnae and all Departments of the College, goes to the McDougall Memorial Nursery School.

The initiation of the final year students into the Alumnae Association is held at the end of the academic year, usually in March. There is a solemn ceremony of the lighting of lamps, followed by a service in the Chapel at which a prominent alumnae inspires the students.

Festeve, a cultural programme organised by the students, invites a modest participation by alumnae. They bring craft persons to demonstrate their skills at pottery, glass-blowing, beads-stringing, Tanjore painting etc. which seems to enthrall the students.

Silver Jubilee reunions of classes have been started. It was the Class of 1972 who pioneered it and subsequent Classes have followed suit.

Some classes celebrate their 40th year Reunion and in 2006 the class of ’56 celebrated their 50th reunion.

The alumnae of Women’s Christian College are to be met in all parts of the world and in a wide range of professions, keeping alive the College motto " Lighted to Lighten ".

As a 90th year gift of love to College, the Alumnae Association has published a book on the history of College titled "Thy Daughters’ Voices".