‘The College’, Cotym, which later on came to be known as the CMS College, was started in 1817. Founded by the Church Missionary Society of England, it is one of the oldest institutions of higher education in India. The Government of Travancore welcomed the College as ‘a place of general education whence any demands of the state for officers to fill all departments of public service would be met’. The CMS College, Kottayam is now one of the largest colleges in Kerala with 14 departments offering 47 courses for 1900 students, 110 teaching faculty members and 35 administrative staffs. Deeply rooted in Kottayam and dedicated to its mission, the CMS College is one of the top colleges in Kerala. CMS College offers programs in almost all academic fields in arts and sciences. Whether you have a passion for basic science, applied science, literature, history, politics, commerce or economics, you’ll find a department that best suits your needs, here at CMS. CMS College boasts an exceptional natural setting combining green space and colonial architecture. Proximity to the city of Kottayam, offers the College community a wide range of shops and services, including several bookstores, boutiques, restaurants and cafes.
Rev. Benjamin Bailey, the father of printing in Travancore, was the first Principal of the College. He was a missionary with a vision, prudent and farsighted, a scholar and an architect. He brought out the first English – Malayalam and Malayalam – English dictionaries and also gave Malayalam its modern round type for printing. He authored over a dozen books and was the architect and engineer who designed and built the Holy Trinity Cathedral in Kottayam. Rev. Joseph Fenn, who followed Rev. Bailey as Principal was a lawyer turned missionary. It was he who nurtured The College and set it on the road to become an institution of liberal education.
In 1937the college became affiliated to the Travancore University. The last Missionary Principal of the College was Rev. Philip Lea was Principal at a time when the whole country was caught up in the Gandhian non-violent struggle for independence. It is a measure of the love that the missionaries were able to inspire in the hearts of the people that the working of the college was not too disrupted even at the height of the struggle. The generosity of Rev. and Mrs. Lea was responsible for giving a poor Dalit boy a chance to learn. It was this boy – Dr. K. R. Narayanan -who rose to become the President of India. In 1965, the Church Missionary Society transferred the management of the college along with its ownership to the CSI Synod which transferred the same to the CSI Madhya Kerala Diocese in 1981.
Rev. M. C. John became Principal in 1983. During his time he brought about a Green Revolution in the campus. He was keen to have a greener campus and initiated the planting of a good number of trees ranging from casuarinas to teaks in the campus. In 1992, the College celebrated the 175th year of her existence. In 1999 the college was awarded the Five Star status by the National Assessment and Accreditation Council. In 2004, the College was conferred the status of “Centre with Potential for Excellence” by the University Grants Commission. In the year 2006 the college was re-accredited by the NAAC at B++ with a score of 84%.
Generations of students and teachers have passed through the portals of this ancient seat of learning. Luminaries like Dr. K. R. Narayanan, former President of India, Sri. K. P. S. Menon, former Indian Ambassador to the U. S. S. R., Padmavibhooshan Dr. George Sudarshan, the world renowned Physicist., Padmabhooshan Kavalam Narayana Panicker, Padmabhooshan Justice K. T. Thomas and Sri. Oommen Chandy (Chief Minister of Kerala) are some of the illustrious alumni of the CMS College.
The college was awarded minority status by the National Commission for Minority Educational Institutions, Govt. of India. A revamping of the college campus with the addition of an eight lane athletic track, enumeration and documentation of the campus flora and various other activities are in progress. The College is now affiliated to Mahatma Gandhi University.