Forman Christian College was founded in 1864 by Dr Charles W Forman, a Presbyterian missionary from the USA. Initially known as the Lahore Mission College, the name was changed to Forman Christian College in 1894 in honor of the founder.
Degrees were first awarded through Calcutta University. After a hiatus from 1869 to 1886 because of illness among the faculty, degrees were awarded through the University of the Punjab. In 2004, Forman Christian College gained University status and it now offers baccalaureate, masters and MPhil degree programs.
The early years were marked by rapid growth in enrollment and a constant struggle to find enough space to house the growing college. Enrollment grew from 18 students in 1886 to 600 by 1915. Enrollment today stands at 4,664 students.
The College campus was originally located in Anarkali (Nila Gumbad) in downtown Lahore. There were four buildings on that campus by 1916, and Ewing Hall, built in 1916, is still used as a hostel today. In 1940 the College moved to its present campus on the scenic banks of the Lahore Canal. It soon became known as one of the best colleges on the subcontinent.
Among the college’s distinguished alumni are two Presidents of Pakistan, a Prime Minister of Pakistan, a Prime Minister of India, the first Chief Justice of Pakistan, a president of the UN Security Council, numerous ambassadors, Chief Ministers, an Attorney General of Pakistan, and a Foreign Minister of Pakistan. There is an equally impressive list of leaders in the fields of education, law, medicine, the arts and entertainment. FCC also fostered the work of a Nobel Laureate, Dr Arthur Compton, who won a Nobel Prize for physics in 1927.
The college motto, “By love, serve one another” has been a guiding principle for Formanites throughout its history. During the time of Partition, the college converted two hostels into a hospital for refugees, thus starting United Christian Hospital. During the 1905 Kangra Valley earthquake, Dr JCR Ewing organized and led the relief effort. Similarly, the college did devoted relief work for survivors of the Quetta earthquake, this time under the leadership of Prof Jaqun Nath. In 2005, FCC again showed its devotion to service by organizing relief drives and fund-raising events for victims of the October earthquake.
FCC was nationalized by the Pakistani government in 1972 and remained under government control until March 2003 when it was returned to its former owners, the Presbyterian Church (USA). The College began a new era in 2003 and hopes to continue to build on its strong heritage.