March 3, 2021, marked the 200th birth anniversary of renowned educationist Charles W. Forman, founder of Forman Christian College. The FCCU community organized a wreath-laying ceremony and held an online symposium “The Life and Legacy of Charles W. Forman” to celebrate the founder of their prestigious University which he founded in 1864.
Founder’s Day has traditionally been celebrated as an in-person event, bringing hundreds of Forman alumni together, for a week-long celebration which concluded with the Annual Alumni Dinner. This year, rather than canceling the event like the previous year, the community decided to memorialize this special 200th anniversary by organizing a wreath-laying ceremony at Dr. Forman’s grave and celebrating FCCU’s founder by organizing an online symposium keeping the guidelines of Covid-19 in view.
The day started with the wreath-laying ceremony on Dr. Charles’ grave in the Taxali Christian graveyard in Lahore. The commemoration ceremony was led by Dr. Jonathan Addleton, Rector FCCU. Other prominent figures in attendance included Dr. Qaiser Julius, Chairman FCCU Board of Governors, Dr. Douglas Trimble, Vice Rector for Academic Affairs, Dr. Nayer Fardows, FCCU Registrar, and Alumni Association Board Members: Mr. Tajammul Jafri and Mr. Shafaat Ahmad Chaudhry, along with other members of the Forman community. Also in attendance were representatives of the City of Literature on behalf of the Office of the Commissioner of Lahore and Metropolitan Corporation, Lahore, to honor Dr. Charles Forman’s legacy.
The second part of the day saw FCCU host an online symposium titled, “The Life and Legacy of Charles W. Forman”. Well-known writer and historian Mr. Fakir Aijazuddin moderated the symposium which started at 6 pm on March 3, 2021. It included presentations on the ‘Life of Charles Forman’ by Dr. Yaqoob Bangash, author, commentator, and Chair of the Department of Government and Global Studies at ITU; ‘The Legacy of the Forman Family’ by Dr. Jonathan Addleton, Rector FCCU; and the ‘Impact of Forman Christian College’ by Dr. Farzand Masih, Head of the History Department at FCCU, former Chief Curator of Lahore Fort and Harappa Museum.
Also, FCCU faculty members Dr. Sikandar Hayat Distinguished Professor of History and Dean, Faculty of Social Sciences; Prof. Tahir Masood Professor of Urdu; and Dr. Arfa Sayeda Zehra Professor of History served as discussants in the symposium, providing their reflections on Dr. Charles W. Forman and the institution that now bears his name, how education reform was brought to the subcontinent and interfaith harmony were promoted.
Dr. Charles W Forman can undoubtedly be named as one of the greatest educationists of the 19th century of the great city of Lahore. The glorious history of the city and the life of Dr. Charles were discussed in depth by the speakers at the symposium while recognizing the lasting impact he had on education in the subcontinent.