Bishop Heber College is a religious minority educational institution established by the Tiruchirappalli - Thanjavur Diocese of the Church of South India. Its main objective is to cater for the higher educational needs of the members of the Church of South India and other Christians and specially to provide for them an educational atmosphere in keeping with the Christian ideals of the Church. The College, however, admits students of all faiths and religions and seeks to provide for them the best possible higher education
Bishop Heber College traces its origin back to Christian Frederick Schwartz, the first German missionary, supported by the Society for the Promotion of Christian Knowledge (S.P.C.K) in South India. He built a school near the Rock Fort in Tiruchirappalli in 1762. The School was vested in the S.P.C.K, and subsequently handed over to the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel(S.P.G) in 1825. Reginald Heber, the Lord Bishop of Calcutta, came to Tiruchirappalli in 1826 on his way to Sri Lanka. He visited the school on the morning of the 3rd of April and expressed the wish that better buildings might be provided. He also spoke to the Tamil Congregation and later in the morning died of apoplexy in the cold water bath in the District Court Compound here. He was buried in St. John's Church, Trichy. The School was renamed Heber Memorial School.
The Heber Memorial School became a full-fledged high school in 1864 and sent its pupils for the Matriculation Examination. In 1873 the School was raised to a Second Grade College and in 1882 it became a First Grade College. It was then known as S.P.G College. It was the first college to be established in Tiruchirappalli. Honours courses in History and Mathematics were introduced in 1925. The College came to be known as Bishop Heber College in the late 1920's and its Diamond Jubilee was celebrated in 1926 under the presidentship of the then Governor of Madras, Lord Goschen.
The Lindsay Commission on Christian Higher Education in India recommended the merger of the Bishop Heber College with the Madras Christian College. Accordingly, Bishop Heber College was closed in 1934 and the Bishop Heber Hall emerged at Madras Christian College, Tambaram.
The people of Tiruchirappalli, however, were not happy about the closure of the College. Right from the year 1946, efforts were made to revive Bishop Heber College but in vain. The Most Rev. Dr. Solomon Doraisawmy, who was consecrated Bishop of Tiruchirappalli - Thanjavur Diocese in 1964, plunged heart and soul into the effort to revive the College. He succeeded in reviving the College on 24th June 1966.
The College functioned at Teppakulam in the old College Buildings from 1966 to 1968, having only Pre-University classes. In July 1968 the College was upgraded to the Degree Standard with three Degree Courses Viz. History, Economics and Mathematics and the Degree Classes were conducted at Puthur, where the College had acquired a site for its permanent buildings.
For four years from 1968 to 1972, the College functioned in two places, the Pre-University Classes at Teppakulam and the Degree Classes at Puthur. The College grew not only in strength but also in popularity and academic excellence and attracted students from all over Tamil Nadu. In the meantime, the College managed to secure financial aid from the Protestant Central Agency for Co-operation in Development, Bonn,Germany, for the construction of its permanent buildings.The building scheme was taken in hand early in 1970 and four new buildings were opened in 1972. Many more buildings have since been added and the College now has a beautiful campus with lovely gardens.
The College now offers thirteen Under-Graduate, eighteen Post-Graduate and four Post-Graduate Diploma Programmes and three Diploma Programmes of study besides research programmes leading to M.Phil. and Ph.D. The College started offering programmes in the Self-Financing stream from the year 1985.
The College has already established a great reputation for its high academic standards and attracts students from all over India and abroad.
The College runs the accredited Study Centre of the Indira Gandhi National Open University, New Delhi.
The revived College celebrated its Silver Jubilee in Feb. 1992 and the 40th Anniversary in June 2006.
The College was accredited with 5 stars by the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) on 21st May 2001 and was Reaccredited at the A+ Level on 31st March 2007.Also Our College has been recognised by the UGC as "College with Potential for Excellence"on September 2011.
The University Grants Commission, New Delhi and Bharathidasan University, Tiruchirappalli granted Autonomy to our College during 2004-2005.
The college with the spirit of a goodwill ambassador ,has cut across boundaries to propagate its educational mission.In keeping with the present educational trend,the college has signed a number of MoU's with various universitis,colleges,institutions and other agencies of international repute.This fruitful endeavour helps in arguing an interface between institutions in order to promote exchange of information thereby facilitating and upgrading the quality of education offered by the college.The College has signed MoU's with Liverpool Hope University,UK,Wolverhampton University,UK,Kingston University,UK,University of Burgundy,France,Kasetsart University,Thailand, Applalachain State University,USA,Groupe ESC,Rouen,France,Churches' Council for Child and Youth Care,Bangalore,e-LIPI of STPI,Government of India,Tata Dhan Academy,Madurai,IBM,Bangalore,Tally India Private Limited,Bangalore,ICCI Bank Limited,UAE Exchange and MAHE,Dubai.These MoU's bear eloquent testimony to the high standard and quality of education offered in the college.