Introducing an institution like Sydenham College insinuates recapitulating a history of 103 years of excellence, a history that is chequered as the history of modern India. Sydenham, being the pioneer institution of commerce education in India, has definitely contributed in making India a truly modern and progressive nation by producing a myriad of exceptionally bright alumni who, by their outstanding contributions in the respective fields, not only helped the nation turn into a great state but also afforded their alma mater a reason to seek pride.
It is not an exaggeration; in is a statement of facts. As the adage goes that the origin of all things great lies in insignificant events, the history of this great institution too began, on October 22, 1913, in a small and borrowed premises that belonged to Elphinstone College. Initially the institution was christened as the Government College Commerce. It acquired its present name, Sydenham College of Commerce and Economics, in acknowledgment of the munificence of Lord Sydenham, the Governor of Bombay, towards the growth and development of this premier educational institution. Nevertheless the borrowed premises did not remain its permanent address. The college changed its location three times (from Elphinstone it moved to Khadi Bhandar and then shifted to J. J. School of Architecture) prior to shifting to the present building in the up-market area of Churchgate in 1955.
Sydenham is a unique educational institution for the reason that it has been the first college offering commerce courses in India and also because it remained the sole institute to do so for a long time. The reputation of the College as the finest institution for commerce soon crossed the confines of the country and students from Africa, South-East Asia and the Middle East started queuing up for admission. The institution was fortunate to avail the knowledge and expertise of British and Indian scholars, industrialists, bankers and accountants of repute, who have been on its faculty right from the beginning. Sydenham takes pride in nothing that Bharat Ratna awardee Dr. B.R. Ambedkar. one of the most illustrious of our faculty worked as the Professor of Political Economy from the year 1918 to 1920.
Sydenham is among the few educational institutions of the country that can boast of as many as 11 Societies/ Associations that are primarily managed by the students with the necessary guidance offered by the teachers. These Societies Associations conduct various extra curricular and co-curricular activities that prove instrumental in shaping up the overall personality of students. Such a holistic educational environment helps the students sharpen all their faculties along with the scholastic one. Sydenham has always been in the forefront of academic excellence. It is noteworthy that, the Sydenhamites consistently bagged the top positions in the merit lists of the University of Mumbai. The trait continues – albeit intermittently. The institution seeks pride in mentioning the fact that each year a large number of its students get selected by the US, British and Australian universities for professional and higher educational programmes.
With such a remarkable record of academic and extra-curricular pursuits, the recognition and awards were bound to follow. In view of its position as an excellent educational institution, NAAC, the nationally recognised body for the assessment and accreditation of quality education, awarded 'A' grade to the college in 2004. Earlier, on the occasion of Platinum Jubilee of the college in 1988, the Government of India acknowledged the colossal contribution of Sydenham in the field of education by issuing a special postal stamp dedicated to the college.