CHENNAI:Hey what about me? I’m a student too, says a bespectacled woman in the audience with flecks of grey in her hair, rousing chuckles from friends as they watched the young women of Women’s Christian College ascend the stage. Later, when CE caught up with her, the alumni Kanchana Manavalan proudly declares, “Batch of ‘82, English Literature.” She points to the woman on stage, the Head of the same Department, three decades down the years. “That’s my classmate too,” she says.
It may have been a few decades since these women left the campus as students, but that did not stop many from coming back. Some were cheering, some sang along with the ‘100 voices choir’ and some even occasionally dabbed their eyes. But they were all transfixed and nostalgic upon seeing their fellow alumni take the stage to celebrate the institution’s centennial year, sending waves of nostalgia seeping into every corner of the campus on Tuesday.
From the colour-coded choir ensemble to the vibrant dance performances, the students, teachers and alumni took equal part in the celebration working together as one institution blurring boundaries of generation. “Today, Tamil Nadu is a hallmark of Women’s Empowerment thanks to institutions like these. It has been empowering women for 100 years with the most powerful tool there is — education,” said the chief guest for the event Nirmala Sitharaman, Minister of State for Commerce and Industry. “I myself studied in an all-girls’ college, and can identify with the spirit in all of you,” she said addressing the audience.
Continuing the midnight thanksgiving Service celebrations, a set of streamers that flew in from different corners of the world personally signed by alumni of the college, were unfurled in public view. A centenary logo was also unveiled, marking the 100th year milestone. Its edifice carried the crest of a flower and flame that carried the words ‘Lighted to lighten’. “Be it police officers or entrepreneurs or homemakers, everyone present here carries the flag of their institution in the diverse fields they occupy and the diverse situations they face” said Nirmala, pointing to the distinguished set of former students who were felicitated. Present among them were Srilatha Zaheer, dean, Carlson School of Management (University of Minnesota), Aruna Bahuguna (IPS) Director of National Police Academy, Angeline Premalatha (IFS) and Mallika Srinivasan, chairman and CEO, TAFE (Tractors and Farm Equipment), Chennai.