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Fr. Dr. J. Felix Raj: A Profile

Dr. John Felix Raj, SJ (born 1954) is a Jesuit priest in Kolkata, the City of Joy. He is the Founder Vice-Chancellor and a Professor of Economics of St. Xavier's University, Kolkata. He is the former Rector (1996 to 2002) and Principal (2009 to 2017) of St. Xavier’s College (Autonomous), Kolkata.

He is also the director of The Goethals Indian Library and Research Society. He was the West Bengal state advisor to All Indian Catholic University Federation from 1989 to 2017.

His specialization includes development economics, liberalization, privatization and globalization, public sector, disinvestment, spirituality, leadership skills and training. He received his Ph.D. in Economics from RabindraBharati University, Kolkata.

Fr. Felix Raj was appointed member of the West Bengal Education Commission by the Governor of West Bengal to prepare a Road Map / Vision Document for 2020 and 2030 of the state's education sector. He was also the Vice-President and Secretary of the Bengal Economic Association.

He is the Founder-President of SNEGAM, an NGO. His initiative, ‘College to Village and Village to College’ at SXC and SXU Kolkata, is a novel effort in transformative education.

He is the recipient of thirteen awards including Banga Bibhushan and Siksha Ratna from the Government of West Bengal and Nihil Ultra award from St. Xavier’s College. He has authored and co-authored nine books and has published numerous papers and articles in journals, international and national conferences and newspapers.

During his tenure as the Principal of St, Xavier’s College (2009 – 2017), Father Raj had initiated five educational projects:

  1. A rural campus of St. Xavier’s College, Kolkata in Raghabpur (25 km from the city of Kolkata) in South 24 Parganas, inaugurated in 2014;
  2. Twin hostels – one for boys and the other for girls with 300 and 200 seats each at AJC Bose Road (Beck Bagan) with the support of the alumni, inaugurated on July 5, 2014 by Prof. Suranjan Das, VC of Calcutta University and others;
  3. Restoration and Recommissioning ofthe 150-year-oldAstronomy Observatory and a Solar Observatory at St. Xavier’s College, Kolkata on 10th March 2014, dedicated to the memory of Fr. Eugene Lafont, favourite teacher of Acharya Jadish Chandra Bose and father of Modern Science in India.
  4. A campus of St. Xavier's College at St. Lawrence Higher Secondary School premises, Ballygunj, inaugurated in July 2015; it was discontinued from July 2017 in view of the new University; and
  5. A new St. Xavier's College in Asansol, West Bengal, under Asansol Diocese, inaugurated by Dr. Partha Chatterjee, Education Minister in July 2015.

Under Fr. Felix Raj’s committed leadership and democratic governance, St. Xavier’s College, Kolkata secured the highest score of 3.77 CGPA out of 4 in the NAAC accreditation declared on 24 January 2017. His initiative, "College to Village and Village to College" at St. Xavier's College, Kolkata is a novel effort in transformative education. He has introduced this project at the SXUK.

The West Bengal Legislative Assembly unanimously passed the St. Xavier’s University, Kolkata Act, on 15 December, 2016, for setting up the St. Xavier’s University, Kolkata, which became operational from 8 February, 2017. Governor K.N. Tripathi gave his consent to the St. Xavier’s University Act on 16 January, 2017.

Father Felix Raj took over as the first Vice-Chancellor of St. Xavier's University, Kolkata, his dream project, with effect from 16 February 2017. The Hon’ble Chief Minister of West Bengal, Mamata Banerjee, in the presence of Mr. L. N. Mittal and a large number of other dignitaries, inaugurated the University on July 7, 2017.

Father Felix Raj is an icon of service before self.

His Excellency the Hon’ble former Governor of West Bengal, M.K. Narayanan succinctly summarizes the qualities of Father Felix Raj in the following words:

“…..Till date I was under the impression that administration and piety were his qualities. I now realize that behind the gentle eminence lies the shrewd and sharp intellect accompanied by burning desire to contribute to nation’s development. Fr. Felix Raj is hence a true icon not only for those who have gone through or will go through the portals of St. Xavier’s College, Kolkata but also for those who study in other competent institutions as well.

He has demonstrated that classrooms are not solely intended to impart knowledge but in equal measure to inspire the students to search for truth and arrive at their own conclusions. I am sure that St. Xavier’s College would be richer with the presence of someone like Fr. Felix Raj as Principal…..”

H.E. M.K. Narayanan, 24th Governor of West Bengal (2010 – 2014),(In his speech on September 11, 2012 at St. Xavier’s College, Kolkata)

Responsibilities Held
1984 to 2016
Professor of Economics, St. Xavier’s College, Kolkata
1996 to Present
Director and Secretary, the Goethals Indian Library and Research Society
1996 to 2002
Rector, St. Xavier’s College, Kolkata
1989 to 2017
State Director, All India Catholic University Federation, West Bengal Unit
2005 to 2008
Council Member, International Economic Association
1997 to 2009
Vice Principal, St. Xavier’s College, Kolkata
2009 to 2017
Principal, St. Xavier’s College, Kolkata
2011 to 2016
Vice President, Bengal Economic Association
2005 to 2011
Secretary, Bengal Economic Association
2009 – 2017
President, SXC Alumni Association
2008 - 2015
Trustee, International Institute of Development Studies, Kolkata
2005 to Present
President, SNEGAM Social Welfare and Resource Society, Kolkata
2007 to 2013
Board of Governors, XLRI, Jamshedpur
2013 to Present
Member, Board of Governors, Xavier Institute of Management, Bhubaneshwar and St. Xavier’s University, Bhubaneshwar.
2017 to present
Vice-Chancellor, St. Xavier’s University, Kolkata.