Posted : 7th March, 2022
Jesuit Father Dr.John Felix Raj, S.J., Vice-Chancellor of St. Xavier’s University, Kolkata was conferred the prestigious ‘Vivek Jyoti Samman’ award on Thursday, March 3, 2022, by the Swami Vivekananda University, Barrackpore,West Bengal.
The award was conferred upon him for his lifelong contribution to the development of education andphilanthropic service to society at large.Dr. SubrataDey, Vice-Chancellor of Swami Vivekananda Universitybequeathed this honour to Fr. Felix Raj, S.J. at the University campus.
Posted : 7th March, 2022
St. Xavier’s University, Kolkata (SXUK) successfully organized the third Convocation programme on March 5, 2022 (Saturday) in the University premisesadhering to all protocols of COVID-19 pandemic. A total number of 627 students received their degree completion certificates both in undergraduate and postgraduate courses in this Convocation programme. 34 students were awarded gold, silver and bronze medals according to their ranks.
On this grand occasion, eminent industrialist and Xaverian, Sanjiv Goenka, Chairman, RP-Sanjiv Goenka Group was conferred upon the prestigious first Doctor of Literature (Honoris Causa) by Rev. Fr. Dr. John Felix Raj, S.J., Hon’ble Vice-Chancellor of SXUK.
Fr. Vice-Chancellor in his inaugural address said, “The SXUK is mandated to the principle of forming its students as men and women for others, who should be responsible and concerned citizens.” While congratulating the students on their successful completion of academic journey despite several challenges, Fr. Raj advised them to move forward in life with all the zeal and courage that they have inherited through the Xaverian culture during their course of study here. Three faculty members were also awarded for the completion of Ph.D. degrees while in service here.
Fr. Raj also presented the annual report where he mentioned about the introduction of DigiLocker facility for maintaining the academic records. Using the unique DigiLocker facility, academic records can be downloaded from anywhere with authentication. He also announced that three new courses, namely M.Sc. in Computer Science and Statistics and a postgraduate course in Philosophy would be commencing from July 2022. Fr. Raj also announced that the University would have new academic building, auditorium and another Girls’ Hostel very soon as all these infrastructural facilities are almost near to completion.
Sanjiv Goenka in his address to the students advised them to give their best efforts in all spheres of life till they meet their goals. Acknowledging the unparalleled contribution of St. Xavier’s school, college and University in building and developing the society since time immemorial, Mr. Goenka owed his success to being a Xaverian. The degrees were then given out to the passing out students by the Chancellor and Vice-Chancellor.
Posted : 28th February, 2022
Xaverians in Action (XIA), the Social Outreach unit of St. Xavier's University, Kolkata in collaboration with XAVECOS, the Economics Society of the University celebrated the Bhasha Diwas (International Mother Language Day) on February 21, 2022 in the University campus. The XIA also organized an event to celebrate the World Day of Social Justice on the same day.
The programme began with one minute of silence to pay respect to the departed soul of late Mr. Sadhan Pandey, Minister of Consumer Affairs, Government of West Bengal.
To commemorate the contribution of the martyrs to save the honour of the mother language in East Pakistan on this fateful day, a cultural programme was organized by XIA. Hon’ble Vice-Chancellor, Rev. Fr. John Felix Raj, S.J. and other dignitaries of the University lit the lamp to begin the programme. Fr. Raj shared his thoughts through an inspiring speech showering the values and sentiments associated with everyone’s mother language. He also put a light on the importance of social justice. He advised the student community to respect and work for maintaining the national integration amid linguistic and cultural diversity.
The cultural programme included group songs and group dance performed by the students. A dance-drama on national unity was performed by the student volunteers of XIA. A debate competition on the Union Budget – 2022 and a quiz competition on current affairs were organised at Fr. Albert Huart Hall, Arrupe Building. A huge number of students along with faculty members were present in the celebration.
Posted : 8th February, 2022
St. Xaviers University: the dream that counts
Posted : 29th January, 2022
Mario Martin Louis
St. Xavier’s University, Kolkata celebrated the 73rd Republic Day with traditional fervour and gaiety. The national flag was unfurled at the university by Father Felix Raj, the Honourable Vice Chancellor followed by National Anthem.
Pro-Vice Chancellor, Registrar, Fathers, Sisters, Deans, Faculty Members, Staffs and Students attended the programme adhering to COVID-19 protocols. The security officers, draped in colourful attire, coordinated the unfurling of the tri-colour.
Fr. Felix Raj, SJ, explained the significance of the Republic Day and the Indian Constitution to the young minds. He also touched upon the country of the dream of GurudevRabindraNath Tagore, “Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high…………….into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake.” The programme culminated with a vote of thanks and refreshments.
Posted : 14th January, 2022
St. Xavier’s University Kolkata Alumni Association (SXUKAA) organised the Annual Christmas Gathering at St. Xavier’s University, Kolkata (SXUK), on 22nd December, 2021. Rev. Fr. John Felix Raj, SJ, the Vice-Chancellor of St. Xavier’s University, Kolkata and President of St. Xavier’s University Kolkata Alumni Association gave the ‘Christmas Message’ in the presence of the Jesuit Fathers, Staff, Faculty Members and Alumni of St. Xavier’s University, Kolkata.
Rev. Fr. John Felix Raj spoke about the commitment of the Jesuit community towards education. Father also spoke about the influence of Jesus on Tagore’s life and how Tagore had mentioned about Jesus in two of his poems. Rev. Fr. Felix Raj also recited some lines from the poems. He blessed the gathering and wished everyone Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
The official Alumni Memorabilia of SXUK was also launched on the occasion by Rev. Fr. John Felix Raj, SJ. The souvenir items launched includes Coffee Mugs, Lapel Pins, Digital Table Clocks, Sipper Bottles, Key Chains, Fridge Magnets, Mobile Pop Sockets, Caps and T-Shirts. The first set of Memorabilia items were handed over to Rev. Fr. John Felix Raj, SJ, by the Honorary Secretary of SXUKAA, Mr. Vatsal Chirimar.
A set of the Memorabilia was also gifted to each of the Jesuit Fathers of the SXUK Jesuit Community. The souvenir items will be available for sale from the Alumni Office as well as the website of SXUKAA. The sale proceeds will be used for various social and charitable activities carried out by SXUKAA throughout the year.
SXUKAA shared the joy of the festive season with some children of the neighbouring villages who had been invited for the Christmas Gathering. The children enjoyed playing games organised by the Lady Members of SXUKAA on the winter evening. Stationery Kits and Winter garments were also gifted to all the children by SXUKAA.
Posted : 22nd December, 2021
Father John Felix Raj, SJ, Hon’ble Vice-chancellor of St Xavier’s University, Kolkata (SXUK)delivered the first Annual Christmas Lecture at Parasmani,Santiniketan on December 16, 2021. Parasmani, theCentre for Research and Social Outreachruns as a unit of SXUK in Ratanpally, Bolpur. Fatherspoke on ‘Christ in the eyes of Tagore’ before the august gathering.Teachers, noted civil society members and other dignitaries from both Santiniketan and Kolkata attended this lecture.
“Jesus and Tagore have many things in common. They were great spiritual leaders and teachers ... they had similar vision, ideas and teachings”,he said. While referring to Gurudev Tagore and his activities for the social development, he also referred to the patron saint of the University, St. Francis Xavier, whose philosophies highly match with the works of Tagore.
Fr. Felix Raj, in his delightful lecture referred to the 10-month stint of Tagore as a student at the St Xavier’s School, Calcutta. “He studied there until April 1876. He was uncomfortable with formal schooling and left….. The person who had the greatest impact on young Tagore was Father Alfonso de Penaranda, a Spanish Jesuit,” he added.
Thirty–six years later, at the age of fifty, Tagore acknowledged Fr. Penaranda’s influence in his autobiography. “His countenance had for me a strange attraction. Whenever I looked on him, his spirit seemed to be in prayer, a deep peace seemed to pervade him within and without,” Fr. Felix Raj quoted.
Fr. Felix Raj also threw light on the beginnings of Visva Bharati and how on the request of Tagore, Brahmabandhab Upadhyay and BrahmachariRewachandAnimandanda shifted their ‘Srasvata-Ayatana’ school from Swami Vivekananda’s birthplace in SimlaStreetin Kolkata to Santiniketan.
While focusing on Tagore’s writings on Jesus, Fr. Raj referred to his two poems namely ‘The Child’ and ‘The Death of the King’. ‘The Child’ is the only poem Tagore wrote in English in 1930. The poem is in ten sections and blends the cultural contexts of the East and the West with profound prophecies. Tagore later translated it into Bengali as ‘Sisutirtho’. Tagore wrote ‘The Death of the King’ in 1939 at the age of 78.
While concluding, Fr. Vice-Chancellor said that the universal vision and the spiritual depth of Jesus Christ, the first century Teacher and Master are seen echoing in the verses of Tagore, the greatest poet of the twentieth century. ‘Tagore’s writings deeply reflect Jesus’ teaching,’ he added.
This annual lecture at Parasmani aimed to promote the research and social outreach programmes of SXUK at Santiniketan. Amid the lush greeneries, there are ample opportunities left for the development of downtrodden society.
Faculty members from both SXUK and Visva Bharati have been invited to workcollaboratively for innovation and research in the related sectors. Active participation of students from both institutions to co-assist their teachers have also been sought. The core team led by Fr. Mourlin Fernando, SJ is planning for collaborative programmes between these two esteemed institutions of repute.
Posted : 22nd December, 2021
St. Xavier’s University, Kolkata (SXUK) hosted a two-day international conference on the theme of ‘Integrating Ignatian Pedagogy into Research and Practice’on December 11 & 12, 2021 at the University campus. This conference is a testimony to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the cannonball moment of St. Ignatius. As the Jesuit community across the world celebrates the Ignatian year between May 2021 – July 2022, this conference is an endeavour of SXUK to unite scholarson Ignatian philosophy. Academicians from SXUK and across the world presented their valuable research works on different sub themes in the conference. The Welcome Address was delivered by Hon'ble Vice Chancellor, Rev. Dr. John Felix Raj, SJ. The inaugural address was presented by Rev. Fr. Jerome Stanislaus D’ Souza, S.J., President, Jesuit Conference of South Asia.
At the onset, Rev. Fr. Felix Raj extended a very warm welcome to Rev. Fr. Stany D’Souza and others presented.“As little drops of water make a mighty ocean, our little moments of life make our life big and worth living,”he uttered.He also mentioned that humility and meekness are hallmarks of leadership which the spiritual exercises of St. Ignatius teach us.In his inaugural address, Rev. Fr. Stany D’Souza complimented SXUK for organizing the conference on the Ignatian theme.He also expressed hopes for the University to rekindle the pious fire of St. Ignatius in each Xaverian so that we may relive the mission and vision which Ignatian philosophy brought in this world.
Two different panel discussions were held entitled ‘Challenges in Higher Education and Jesuit Response’ and 'Ignatian Spirituality for Life and Leadership’ respectively. On the second day, the inaugural address was delivered by Rev Fr. Jeyaraj Veluswamy. He specially mentionedthat ‘personal and social transformation are at the heart of Ignatian leadership paradigm’. During the valedictory session, Rev. Fr. Felix Raj stated that the vision, mission, and motto of SXUK are based on the Ignatian charism and principles. This has helped to create a learning environment where these values can be realised, appreciated and imbibed, he further added. The Vote of Thanks was offered by Fr. Dr. Mourlin, S.J.
Rev. Fr. Dr. Mourlin S.J. and Dr. Ipsita C. Patranabis
Posted : 22nd December, 2021
St. Xavier’s University Kolkata Alumni Association (SXUKAA) organized a COVID Vaccination Camp in collaboration with Siddhartha Shankar Ray Foundation at St. Xavier’s School, Gurap on Saturday, December 4, 2021, for the benefit of the rural and tribal population of the area.
A total of 183 people received their 2nd dose of Covishield Vaccine on the day. This camp was organised primarily to administer the 2nd dose of the vaccine to the 248 beneficiaries who had taken their first jab on August 29, 2021.
The camp was blessed and inaugurated by Rev. Fr. Dr. John Felix Raj, SJ, Hon’ble Vice-Chancellor, St. Xavier’s University, Kolkata, and President, SXUKAA.
Rev. Fr. Vinay Kerketta, SJ, Headmaster - St. Xavier’s School, Gurap, Prof. Ashis Mitra, Registrar, St. Xavier’s University, Kolkata, Rev. Fr. Mourlin Franklin, SJ, Assistant Professor - Xavier Business School, Mr. Rajesh Chirimar, Secretary - Siddhartha Shankar Ray Foundation and Member, Board of Administrators, Bidhannagar Municipal Corporation and Mr. Vatsal Chirimar, Hony. Secretary - SXUKAA were also present on the occasion.
Rev. Fr. Dr. John Felix Raj commended the lofty efforts of SXUKAA. He particularly appreciated the fact that an effort was made to reach out to the rural areas. Fr. Felix Raj also expressed his gratitude to Siddhartha Shankar Ray Foundation for sponsoring the camp.
Mr. Rajesh Chirimar expressed his gratitude to Fr. John Felix Raj, SJ, and the Jesuit Community of Gurap for getting the noble opportunity. He also assured his full support towards more outreach programs.
The medical team for this vaccination drive was from the Renaissance Hospital, Kolkata.
In the last few months, St. Xavier’s University, Kolkata, and St. Xavier’s University Kolkata Alumni Association have undertaken a number of initiatives in response to the outbreak of COVID-19 including setting up of a Safe-Home inside the University campus and vaccination drives at various places.
Posted : 9th December, 2021
The Xaverians In Action (XIA), theSocial Outreach wing of the St. Xavier’s University, Kolkata (SXUK) celebrated the Children's Day on November 15, 2021 in the university premises. A group of thirty (30) children along with their parents from the neighbouring villages participated in this event. This was the first physical event organised for the children from the local villages during the pandemic period.
SXUK has been supporting the children of neighbouring villages in every possible way e.g., academic, social, economical etc. During the pandemic period, the student volunteers of the XIA conducted online classes for these children.
This celebration was rewarding and satisfying for both the invited children and their parents and equally to the students of the University, who were directly involved in the proceedings. The student volunteers visited the local villagesnamely Kathalberia, Kulberia, Dharmatala-Panchuria and distributed the gift-hampers to four hundred (400) children who were not physically present in the campus on that day.
Reported by Paritosh Majumdar
Social Work Programme Coordinator