Lahore: The Government College University Lahore, the oldest seat of higher learning in Pakistan, has turned 151-year-old. The academic travel which had started in Haveli (palace) of Dhian Singh in the Walled City on January 1, 1864 with just nine students and three teachers Thursday completed its 151 years of excellence.
Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Muhammad Khaleeq-ur-Rahman announced holding the Founders’ Day celebrations with simplicity due to the prevailing sadness and grief in the country due to the massacre of innocent children in a terrorist attack at the Army Public School in Peshawar. The university also postponed concluding ceremony of the university’s 150 years celebrations and other scheduled festivities.
Talking to academic heads at the university’s syndicate committee room, Vice Chancellor Prof Rahman said that terrorists could not deter them from their journey to enlightenment. He said a grand ceremony would be held in February 2015 to conclude the GCU sesquicentennial celebrations. He said that 2014 had remained overall year of splendid academic, research and co-curricular achievements for GCU. He proudly said that the university hosted 24 prestigious international conferences last year which was a national record.
He told the academic heads that restoration work on the historical clock-tower building of GCU was underway with a special grant by the Prime Minister. He said historical records showed that the building was completed in 1877 on 3700 square feet in the north of Soldiers Garden (Gol Bagh) with a cost of just Rs 320,000/-.
Talking further about the history of GCU, the Vice Chancellor said that in 1864, the Government College, Lahore was initially affiliated with the Calcutta University as there was no university in this part of the sub-continent at that time. It was raised to the status of University in 2002 and was renamed as the GC University Lahore. He said the college was established on the pattern of Cambridge and Oxford and it was available in historical records that it was decided that all students of this college would be given 10 to 15 rupees scholarship annually. In the first year, the fee of the college was Rs2 annually, which was deducted from the scholarships of the student. Keeping in view this very historical perspective of this educational institution, he had slashed the students’ fee by almost 23 percent in 2011 and didn’t increase it for the next three years.
He proudly said that Poet of East Allama Muhammad Iqbal, Faiz Ahmad Faiz, N.M Rashid, Patras Bukhari, Ashfaq Ahmad, Bano Qudsia; Nobel Laureate Prof Dr Abdus Salam, former chief justice M. R. Kyani, former chief justice Naseem Hassan Shah, Justice (r) Javed Iqbal, Justice (r) Khalil-ur-Rahman Ramday and Justice (r) Khawja Muhammad Sharif were Old Ravains. He said Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Army Chief General Raheel Sharif were also Old Ravians.
The vice chancellor paid rich tribute to the efforts of Dr Leitner, the first principle of GC. The vice chancellor said that they would maintain wonderful traditions of academic excellence, research, promotion of new ideas and above all, respect for others’ belief and views.