Saturday, October 10, 2009




A teacher, principal, head of educational institution touches infinity. It takes just one exemplary head for an institution to be remembered, quoted with pride, long after the person has left the scene. Principals have come and gone but the institution of Mar Ivanios College is inadvertently synonymous with the towering personality in the form of an imposing, stern looking priest named
Dr. Gheevarghese Panicker who headed the institution from the period of 1966 to 1979. Strong administrators willing to brook no nonsense was the need of the time and there was no better fit than Fr Panicker.

Memories of Panicker Achen, as we fondly call him, bring to mind some vivid scenes at the College. I can still visualize the bustle and flurry that ensued as he walked the corridors of the college clothed in his long while cassock, flowing beard, as he cast soul piercing glances at those of us bunking classes. He was not a person to mince words when it came to breaking rules and regulations. The use of strong words was enough to make even the most notorious fellows drop their defenses. I recently read about the use of strong language as a media of maintaining discipline. He probably understood the instant and potential effect of language as a powerful instrument in stemming violence and misbehavior especially in college campuses.

Though highly principled, fearless, and uncompromising, what set Fr Panicker way above most disciplinarians was his altruistic nature. On the other side of this stern personality is a soul that exudes immense warmth and love for his students. He only had the students’ welfare as his primary concern which was evident in his vision of success based on meaningful and quality education for students, respect for instructional time, focus on student behavior, collaboration among faculty and above all a safe and orderly college campus environment. When it came to college politics, I hasten to add that Fr Panicker kept his students from getting into serious trouble as he saw trouble coming before we did. It is no wonder that despite being on the ‘receiving end’ so to say, countless alumni students all over the globe fondly look up to him as their mentor. This commitment by the Principal translated into resourcefulness that contributed to higher levels of achievement for all students.

I had a stint at Mar Ivanios College (1968 to 1973) along with my two brothers and sister. The galaxy of fellow students that passed through Fr Panicker’s mentorship who now occupy high positions from senior politicians, bureaucrats, renowned executives, veteran actors, music composers and musicians, business magnates and the like, bear testimony to a life of vision and dedication. What has always struck me is his innate ability, even at this late age, to recollect names and events with great clarity. This I truly believe comes from the genuine bond and love he embraced towards his students and associates.

At this late stage of his life I remember him with fondness and respect in having moulded a whole generation of youth with the right mixture of discipline, values and above all compassion.

George Zachariah
Senior Economist
Central Bank of Oman
(Pre-degree and B.A Economics from 1968 to 73)

Thoughts of Fr Panicker

Sailing through more than 35 years after I've left my Alma-mater, I fully realize the values, the guidance and the confidence I cultivated at the moulding stage which has largely helped me become what I am today.

Panicker Achen was the live wire behind the entire circle of activities at Mar Ivanios College during his tenure in the 60's and 70's. Principals of most educational institutions during that time are remembered for their strictness and earned respect by maintaining a "dignified" distance with students.

While complementing all his contemporaries, Panicker Achen's committed pulse was always with the students - as a guide, as a well-wisher, a Principal with unique and true values filled with abundant positive energy. He was a near terror to the fraudulent bunch but eventually moulded them with his timely guidance. A father figure to most students who approached him genuinely, he is definitely the person who has highly influenced me in building my confidence at the prime time of my life.

Dr.D.Hari Prasad,
Executive Director,
Ministry of Health,
Sultanate of Oman.

(Year of study 1966 to 1971 Pre degree and Special B.Sc)


I feel it is a great pleasure and honour to write few words about the college I have studied. I was a student of Mar Ivanios College, Trivandrum where I did my B com degree course in the years 1969-1971. One of the main reasons for me to be happy and proud about this college is the dedicated staff and disciplined atmosphere. The principal was the renowned Rev. Fr.Gee Varghese Panicker, who was popularly known as Panicker Achan. As always, the college was famous for its educational qualities and outstanding achievements in academics, sports and other extracurricular activities. Unlike the present days, student strikes and agitations were there but few. I wish to think of those occasions when things were about to go out of control and Panicker Achan’s very presence would settle things fast. That showed the amount of love and respect he had among staff and students. His speeches were so inspiring and thought provoking. I always feel proud whenever I say that I was a student of Mar Ivanios college and Panicker Achan was my principal. Whenever I think of my college life I think of this great personality. I wish this great personality good health and pray for his long life.

Antony Vaveenju
Oman United Agencies Travel LLC
P.O.Box-1938, Postal Code-130
Azaiba, Muscat
Sultanate of Oman
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