For the first time, in all its years, St Xavier’s College in Mumbai is all set to be headed by a non-priest. In 146 years, since it began, the college has always had a Jesuit priest as the Principal. Agnelo Menezes, a very popular Economics professor at the college, is now the head.
Menezes, who will be taking charge in two weeks, grew up in the chawls of Parel in Central Mumbai. He is the son of a clerk who worked his way out of poverty with focus on his education. Menezes wants to introduce greater research orientation to all course content. “I want to convert one exam paper in each subject into a research project,” he said, as reported by TOI.
Father Frazer Mascarenhas, who served as the Principal of St Xavier’s for 12 years, will hand over his duties to Menezes in a fortnight. Mascarenhas, in his time, has supported social activists like Binayak Sen and Arun Ferreira. He was charged with Naxalism and before the 2014 general elections, warned his students against voting for a model of development that he claimed gave importance to growth over social justice.
Xavier’s became the first autonomous college for Arts and Science under his tenure giving the college the freedom of designing its own syllabus and method of evaluation