The Government College University Lahore, the oldest seat of higher learning in Pakistan, has turned 155 years old. The academic journey, which started in Haveli (palace) of Dhian Singh in the Walled City on January 1, 1864 with just nine students and three teachers, completed its 155 years of excellence last Tuesday.

A grand ceremony was held at the university’s amphitheatre where Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Hassan Amir Shah cut the Founders’ Day cake along with the academic heads and Old Ravians.

Speaking on the occasion, the vice chancellor said GCU had been a citadel of higher learning where ideals of tolerance and coexistence had flourished with commitment in the last three centuries. He said GCU’s 155-year academic journey had produced hundreds of eminent literary figures, artists, politicians, two Nobel Laureates, four prime ministers, jurists, sportsmen and scientists.

“Poet of East Allama Muhammad Iqbal, Faiz Ahmad Faiz, NM Rashid, Patras Bukhari, Ashfaq Ahmad, Qudsia Bano; Nobel Laureates Prof Dr Abdus Salam and Prof Dr Hargobind Khorana, Chief Justice MR Kyani, Chief Justice Naseem Hassan Shah were all Old Ravians. The present Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar and former army chief General (r) Raheel Sharif are also old students of GCU,” the vice chancellor said.

Talking about the history of GCU, the VC that in 1864, the Government College, Lahore was initially affiliated with 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 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 Rs 10 to Rs 15 scholarship annually. In the first year, the fee of the college was Rs 2 annually, which was deducted from the scholarships of the students.

The vice chancellor paid rich tribute to the efforts of Dr Leitner, the first principle of GC, saying that they would maintain wonderful traditions of academic excellence, research, promotion of new ideas and above all, respect for others’ belief and views.

Shah said the international ranking of GCU had improved last year, besides the university witnessing an increase in research publication and appointment of senior faculty members.

Registrar Saboor Ahmad Khan told newsmen that the present gothic-style majestic building of the university was built in 1877 on 3,700 square feet with a cost of Rs 320,000. He said the new campus of the university was under construction at Kala Shah Kaku and classes would hopefully commence this year.

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