By Nirmala Carvalho
Mumbai: The University of Bombay has conferred the “Best College Award’ on St. Andrews College of Arts, Science and Commerce, Bandra, a suburb in the western Indian metropolis.
The award was presented on January 26, India’s 69th Republic Day, at the University Campus, Kalina, The award was received by Father Magi Murzello and Dr Marie Fernandes along with the students council.
“The award is meant for the colleges, which perform the best and impact quality education. It takes time to bring excellence to maturity and yours is one such college,” says a letter the university sent to the principal. It commended the teaching and non-teaching staff for their hard work to take the institution to its present height.
The award carries a check for 50,000 rupees.
“I am overjoyed and grateful. Every stakeholder in the college has worked hard toward this award,” Father Murzello, the rector, after receiving the award.
The priest said the college has responded to Pope Francis’ call to students to become magnanimous. “The learning environment in St. Andrews College does not focus only on earning but also being more human,” he said added cited as example the free certificate course launched for differently abled students by the hospitality section. Some have already been handpicked by the industry, the priest added.
The rector, a noted educationist with seven masters degrees including on in environment, announced a plan to celebrate a thanksgiving Mass at a recently installed Marian grotto in the campus on February 11, the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes.
The eco-friendly priest has striven to translate into a creative and pedagogical manner Pope Francis’ encyclical on environment and ecology, “Laudato Sì” (praise be to you). He has organized various programs to delve into different chapters of the encyclical raise awareness on issues such as dialogue, integral ecology, ecological spirituality, transparency and thanksgiving.
The college has introduced a culinary course for adults with development disabilities. Named “Culinary Cookery Course” is a six-month certified diploma in food and beverage production for individuals with developmental disabilities, the rector explained.
Father Murzello said he got the inspiration from his visit to France last year. “Jean Vanier‘s L’Arche do much more for special adults. In India, there isn’t much scope after they turn 18. I was inspired to do something for our own adults with disabilities,” he explained.
He claimed the culinary course could equip differently abled people with skills, besides helping them discover confidence and independence.
“Five-star hotels have already provided direct placements for our special chefs,” the priest added.
St Andrews College was inaugurated in 1983. Monsignor Nereus Rodrigues, who championed for a Catholic college in city suburbs and its first principal and founder trustee, said the award is an acknowledgement of “our high standard of academic excellence, our value system and our holistic integral human development of our students.”