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St. Stephen's College

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      • Delhi, Delhi, India
    • Telephone Numbers:
      • (91-011) 2766 7271
      • (91-011) 2766 2324 (fax)
    • Email:
    • Official Website: [1]
  • History & Memorable Moments

Founded in 1881 by the Cambridge Mission in response to Government policy promoting English-language education in India, the College's first premises were in Chandni Chowk with 5 boarders and three professors, and was initially part of the University of Calcutta. After it changed its affiliation to Punjab University Lahore, it moved into premises in Kashmiri Gate designed in the Indo-Saracenic style (now occupied by the Election Commission for Delhi State). [1]

It was named after Saint Stephen, who was adopted by the Anglican church as the patron saint of Delhi after Christian converts were reportedly stoned to death during the 1857 uprising. (As they were the first 'martyrs' in North India and were stoned, the parallel to Stephen was obvious.) [1]

In 1906, Principal Rev. Hibbert-Ware abdicated his post in favour of Susil Kumar Rudra who became the first Indian to head a major educational institution in India. The decision was frowned upon at the time, and was the subject of scathing editorial comment in The Statesman daily published from Calcutta, but Principal Rudra proved to have a tenure of extraordinary importance for the college, as described below. [1]

In 1920, the decision was taken to set up a University in Delhi and land was earmarked in the area where the Delhi Durbar of 1911 had been held. The new College buildings were laid out around courts in the style of a transplanted Cambridge college (but with certain tropical elements) by the well-known British architect Walter Sykes George. [1]

Women were first admitted in 1928, as there were no women's colleges in Delhi affiliated with the Anglican Church at the time; after the founding of Miranda House in 1949, women were not accepted as students until 1975. [1]

In June 2007, college administrators increased the preferential admissions quota for Christian applicants to 40% and set aside another 15% of the places for applicants from under-privileged backgrounds. That St Stephens now allocates less than half of its 400-odd seats to open admissions is considered a notable development in the politically-fraught debate on caste- and community-based affirmative action in India. [1]

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