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Administration Building.

Photo from David Poddar's album in the Collection of Gordon Christo.

Spicer Adventist University

By Gordon E. Christo


Gordon E. Christo, Ph.D. in Old Testament and Adventist Studies (Andrews University). Christo is retired and working on contract as assistant editor of the Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists and assistant editor of the Seventh-day Adventist International Biblical-Theological Dictionary. He is currently setting up a heritage center for Southern Asia Division. Some of his research on Adventist history can be seen at and

First Published: November 2, 2023

Spicer Adventist University, a Christian institution established vide Maharashtra Act XIV of 2014, is the premier educational institution of the Southern Asia Division of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists.

Historical Roots

One root of Spicer Adventist University1 reaches to the India Union Christian Training School (IUCTS) that was established in Lucknow in 1915 by Irwin F. Blue.2 During its existence, it was the premier educational institution of the India Union and the only one permitted to offer courses beyond high school (tenth standard). Instruction was in English, and students from all over India, Pakistan, and Burma were sent there.3 It closed in 1919, the year the India Union Mission was reorganized into the Southern Asia Division. New Unions would operate their own training schools in regional languages. The first of these was the Marathi Training School established in 1919, and students from IUCTS transferred to this institution that moved from Kalyan to Lasalgaon in 1921. This institution developed into the Lasalgaon Secondary Boarding School. In 1944, the Division voted to move the high school from Lasalgaon to Spicer. The students, most of the teachers, and Principal Roscoe S. Lowry transferred to Spicer where Lowry retained his post as high school principal.4

The other root of Spicer Adventist University is more easily traced to the South India Training School (SITS) that was established by Gentry G. Lowry in Coimbatore in 1915. SITS moved in 1920 to Krishnarajapuram (Bangalore), a more spacious and central location in southern India. In 1929, the Division Council, recognizing that its constituency was too small to support advanced education in each union, voted to confine advanced work beyond high school (tenth standard) to SITS.5 Soon after this, committee minutes increasingly referred to SITS merely as the Krishnarajapuram School. In 1937, the Division Council reiterated that all other training schools should cease offering courses beyond the tenth standard. The Krishnarajapuram School was reorganized as a junior college to be governed by a board appointed by the Division Committee.6

Spicer College

Spicer College was named in honor of William Ambrose Spicer, a pioneer missionary to India (1899-1901) who later served as General Conference president (1922-1930) and was, in 1937, a general field secretary of the General Conference.7 The College initially offered two-year certificates in theology taught by Edward Pohlman; accounting and bookkeeping taught by M. S. Prasada Rao; and education taught by Mrs. Henning. Other teachers handled vocational classes and high-school subjects.

Converting the training school into a college involved much more than changing the name. Earlier, the institution was a high school that offered post-high-school courses. Now, all subjects had to be raised to the academic level of sister colleges around the world. Facilities that were previously inadequate and strained had to be urgently upgraded to accommodate students from other schools that were shutting down their advanced courses.

In their first year, the college received 112 applications (even though the fees had been increased), but only 75 were accepted initially.8 Still, students kept arriving, and eventually the enrolment exceeded one hundred. Boys slept on the verandah and on the benches in the dining hall. Students therefore ate standing or outdoors under the trees. Large classes had to meet in the room designated for the study hall, and the study hall function had to be moved to the chapel.9

Principal Losey early in 1938 appealed for more land, more furniture, and increased facilities. The General Conference contributed Rs 5,000, and the Division earmarked uplift (ingathering) funds for Spicer. However, it soon became clear that the facilities of theirpresent location had severe limitations, and the only recourse was to shift the college to a new location. The Division Committee decided that no further investment should be made at Krishnarajapuram.10

The first choice of the Division Committee for a new location for the College was Mysore.11 Inquiries were made, but the results were not encouraging. In February1939, six out of eight on the committee favored moving to Western India.12 However, no action was taken, and the committee sought the advice of the General Conference, which approved the relocation and granted Rs 50,000 for the move.13

Out of four sites in Poona (Pune),14 the property near the botanical gardens in Poona was favored because it had a suitable climate; was close to a travel station; had fertile land for a farm, a river for irrigation, and electrical connectivity; and was geographically central. The Salisbury Park school also provided for a model school nearby.15 The committee hired real estate agents and architects Mulvaney & Sons to negotiate for the purchase and to plan for the new campus and buildings.16 On May 15, 1940, Mr. Worah presented terms for the purchase at Rs 1001 per acre, +25,000 for the dwelling that would become the principal’s residence.17 Meanwhile, the young college continued to develop slowly.

The First College Emblem and Motto

In 1940, a wedding in the college chapel at Krishnarajapuram is described as having the college emblem Amor Vincit Omnia, in the background. This mostly likely referred to the wavy circle that encloses an open Bible with “Spicer College” written inside the circle, and those Latin words above and below the Bible.18 An early printed logo appeared in 1943 after the college moved to Pune.19

The motto, “He Shall Teach You All Things,” was painted on the back of the chapel on a ribbon below the emblem, probably from the time the chapel was first used.20 The earliest printed reference to it is from 1949 when President Higgins elaborated on it in the Tidings.21

A flag with the revised college emblem was flown for the first time in Pune on November 18, 1956, at 7:30 a.m. The flag had a royal blue background with a white circle in which the name of the college was written in blue letters. The aim of the college (“He shall teach you all things”) was written in an inner circle. Outside the circle, two sprigs of olive leaves met at the bottom, and on a ribbon below was the aim of the College – Amor Vincit Omnia.22 The flag colors are reversed from the pattern on the emblem on the first chapel wall in Pune, on which the background wall was light. Also, the words “Holy Bible” were not in the emblem on the wall, and the motto Amor Vincit Omnia and aim “He shall Teach You All Things” exchanged places—inside the circle, and on the ribbon.23

Origin of the College Song

Erwin J. Henning, professor of science and math, composed what became the “Spicer College Song.” The first performance was done by the eleven students of the graduating class of 1940 during the commencement service in Krishnarajapuram on Sunday, March 17. The lyrics of the song appeared a few months later in the September 1, 1940, issue of the Eastern Tidings. The music for the song was composed by Lillian Spillman from California, who was most likely an acquaintance of the Hennings. The congregation joined enthusiastically in the chorus “Spicer College, Alma Mater” led by Henning and accompanied by his wife at the piano.24 The lyrics and the tune invoke strong loyalty to the college among alumni.

In Poona (Pune)

Naturally, the relocation of the college met with mixed emotions. There were some who had grown deeply attached to the Bangalore location and were strongly opposed to moving. Still, the Church had acted in a professional manner, seeking the advice of the General Conference, the reports of study commissions, and the collective wisdom of various committee members.25 The site in Kirkee was acquired in August 1941, and the 1942 school year began on the new campus on August 28, later than usual, but more time had to be given for completion of buildings. Still, the noise of workmen competed with lectures.26 The four courses offered were: (1) A Commercial course that included subjects in shorthand, typing, and bookkeeping. To take this course, students needed fluency in English. (2) Secondary, Elementary Education. (For Secondary Education—students chose from concentrations in Bible, History, English, and Math), (3) Theological Course, and (4) General Course–if required.27

The college charged an admission fee of Rs. 10, and monthly fees of Rs. 20, with a 20% discount for Adventists. Lab fees were Rs. 1 fee for typing and science, and Rs. 2 for Chemistry. Students were advised to bring necessary clothing, a large plate, and two small plates, a spoon, a knife and a fork (if desired), bedding, a laundry bag, and toiletries.

Enrollment dropped to 47 college students that first year.28 But with building completed, the next school year was pleasant and could focus on academics. Before the end of the year, Governor and Lady Colville of the Bombay State paid a visit and boosted the morale of the college family.29

Spicer Missionary College

In 1944, Spicer College became Spicer Missionary College. As outgoing President Pohlman described it, the college had to “fly the exact flag that would identify the vessel.” When the institution was called a Training School, its mission was clear. The simple name Spicer College did not reflect that purpose.30

Origin of the High School and Elementary School

When Spicer College moved to Poona, it had assumed management of the Salisbury Park church school (on the Division office campus, seven miles away) and administered it as its “model practice school” for teachers in training.31 In 1944, the high school section from Lasalgaon was moved to the Spicer campus in order to make it more convenient for the teachers in training,32 but also because both the hostels were barely half full with college students.33 The high school moved into the ground floor of the Administration building.

The first elementary school on the campus was organized in 1946 by Miss Rose Meister for the benefit of Indian children of the campus and to provide practice teaching for elementary education students. This school met in Room 6 of the Administration building until 1955 when it moved with the high school into the vacated boys’ hostel.34

As the elementary and high schools grew, the elementary section was shifted to a new building between the men’s hostel and the administration building in 1958. This elementary school had four spacious rooms and an office. It was built to hold 100 students.35 Two shiny stainless steel drinking fountains and a playground helped make the school attractive and functional. Miss Hudak took Miss Meister’s place as headmistress. This building is today the School of Education.

Origin of the Cafeteria System

At one time, students took their food from the kitchen back to separate dining halls in their respective hostels. As hostels became more crowded, tables were pushed onto the verandah. Girls ate facing the wall. In 1945, the college undertook expansion of the kitchen and added a new wing to the girls’ hostel for a cafeteria.36 Board members visiting in January 1946 noted the spacious dining hall and students being served cafeteria style. Students purchased meal tickets and paid only for what was selected. This taught students economy and helped them learn how to budget.37 However, many students didn’t budget well, so the meal ticket system was withdrawn in 1955. A new extension adjoining the girls’ hostel (which is the current location for the cafeteria) was approved in 1954 and completed in 1955. This also provided for more kitchen space.38 When the ticket system was re-introduced in 1959, it was with total limits for the month. Boards displayed the menu for each meal with the price and limits for each dish.

The first cafeteria trays were heavy round brass plates (one foot across, with a high edge), which some girls felt shy using.39 In 1953, the cafeteria acquired sleek stainless-steel trays divided into sections as well as steel pitchers and tumblers. (The old trays were relegated to use at college camps.) Cafeteria schedules were greatly extended at this time to alleviate crowded conditions. Students who were served first could leave when they had finished eating, giving seats to those who arrived later.40

In 1957, a refrigeration unit was installed in the cafeteria. The room was 1675 cu. ft. and cost Rs 12,000. The cold room had four inch-thick cork and tar insulation, and the 2 hp compressor ran on 440 volts.41

First Senior College Degrees

Beginning in 1946, Spicer offered a third year of college study that included extra subjects in science, history, and English with the goal of providing a four-year degree.42 Two years later, on February 28, 1948, the first seniors--E. N. Simon and Robinson Koilpillai--graduated from Spicer with Bachelor of Religious Education (B.R.E.) degrees.43 Both had majors in Religion and minors in English.44 The granting of BBA degrees began in 1950.45 In 1952, the Secondary Education Department was separated from the Elementary Education Department, and John Parobek was appointed head.46

The First Issues of the Spicerian

While Schutt was on furlough in 1948, H. H. Mattison served as acting principal. After Schutt returned, the Spicerian, a student-edited newspaper for the college, was begun. The campaign was launched by Gerald J. Christo, stenography instructor and campaign advisor. Student reporters were M. E. Cherian, Premila Ohal, Birol Wallang, Jospehine Dass, and Rawlinson Fernando. The paper was discontinued the following year due to some unfortunate circumstances during and following the campaign,47 and the printing machines had to be returned to the school in Lasalgaon from which they had been borrowed in 1942.48 A chandler press and a cutting machine were acquired in 1952, and the paper was then restarted. Both volumes in 1948 and 1952 are numbered “1.”

The foundation of the photo lab at Spicer dates back to 1948 when L. J. Larson, who was on furlough in the U.S., was authorized to purchase $400 worth of photographic equipment.49 Students learned to take photos, develop the negatives, and print them. Students were assigned to take series of photos of people, offices, homes, and events.50 Photographs started appearing more frequently in the Spicerian beginning in 1954.

The Quest for Government Recognition Begins

In 1954, the Division looked into the future and recognized that the time would soon come when some graduates would seek employment outside the denomination and others would desire to go on to graduate studies. The college had developed programs in religion, business, elementary and secondary education, English, home economics, secretarial, and vocational training. The Division requested SMC staff give serious study to ways and means of obtaining government recognition for the college.51

Spicer Memorial College

On December 8, 1954, the Division Committee voted to eliminate the use of the term “Mission” from official terminology of the Division as some deemed it offensive. Henceforth, units would be termed Sections and Regions rather than Missions.52 Though Spicer Missionary College is not mentioned in this action, within a few days, all references in the committees are to “Spicer Memorial College.” Since William Spicer had passed away in 1952, the change from “Missionary” to “Memorial” was logical.

The Hostels

The new boys’ hostel just across the Ram River was started in 1954 as a result of Thirteenth Sabbath Offering overflow. It was completed in 1955 and could accommodate about 225 hostelers compared to just 75 in the old one. In addition to the rooms, there was a large worship hail above the dean’s residence, and on the ground floor, there was a recreation-cum-parlor hall. The hostel also had an infirmary for the sick who might need to be isolated, a guest room, and a box room for boys to store their luggage in when they went on vacation.53

The old hostel was converted to the high school and elementary school. The upper floors were made into labs for biology, chemistry, and physics, two classrooms, and offices.

When the hostel was built, a flood wall to keep the Ram River under control was also constructed. This was necessary because the creek flooded during the monsoons. Two years later, the residents were given a proper bridge over the creek. The bridge was built to bear 8000 lbs., with 22 cu. ft. of concrete on a foundation of 300 cu. ft. of stone at each end. The construction was carried out by one mason assisted with student work.54

By 1972, the “new boys’ hostel” had become outgrown. Twenty boys were living in a renovated chicken coop on the farm, 30 occupied the gym behind the hostel, and 40 were in an aluminum structure on the farm. The college received part of a 1970 Thirteenth Sabbath Offering for a new hostel just behind the old one.55 This would eventually have three floors with residences for three deans. One surprising feature was that each ground floor room had a door to the outside.

Establishing Sports Facilities

The earliest students used to cross the road in front of the campus to a vacant area on government property in order to play games. When the boys’ hostel was built in 1955, the area in front of the hostel was levelled for a small playground.56

At the 1959 annual sports meet, the college hosted two distinguished guests--Milkha Singh and Parduman Singh. The Flying Sikh had, the previous year, won the 440-yard sprint at the British Empire championships, and both he and Parduman had placed first in the Asian Games in the 200m. and shot-putt events respectively.57 The following year, 1960, the area in front of the elementary school (now the School of Education) was levelled by student labor. The top of the higher ground near the road was moved to the end closer to the college buildings to create a fairly level playing field. It was smaller than a regular soccer field, but goal posts were erected, and students played football, cricket, and baseball there. The ground could accommodate a 220-yard track.58 Since it was along the road, games played here attracted crowds watching from the roadside. In 2013, a school of business building was constructed on this playground, and a new playing field was provided on one of the fields of the farm on the other side of the Ram River.

A tennis court beside the high school building was constructed in 1958.59 I. R. Thomas, who was in charge of special projects, was assisted by C. O. John, head of the Maintenance Department. Murrum was supplied by Asian Industries, Yervada. Students who worked on this project included Benny John, Richard Frankel, Daniel Thomas, Joseph Edward, Samuelraj Pakkianathan, Edric Wilis, and Gunusekaran. In 1989, this court gave up its space for a science building.

Establishing Industries

The farm naturally boasted the first industries on the campus. The poultry, raised from eggs hand-carried from America by Principal Losey, had been obtained from prize-winning Leghorns and Rhode Island hens.60 Incubators manufactured at the college had won a gold medal at the Mysore show, and Losey had been invited to speak on poultry farming by governments of several states.61 The poultry moved from Bangalore to the new property before the college did. The dairy was restarted after the cows in Bangalore were sold. The fertile soil and plentiful water for irrigation made for excellent vegetable production under M. G. Champion’s guidance. 62 In 1957, a twelve-cu. ft. deep freeze was installed in the farm to preserve sweet corn, peas, lima beans, and french beans for the market.63

The new bakery, for which Spicer would become famous, was opened on December 8, 1956, with M. Amirtham as manager.64 Every day, the oven turned out 200 loaves of bread. Sixty were delivered to customers in Poona and Kirkee, and 140 went to the cafeteria. The construction of the brick oven and the remodeling of the bakery were carried out with a cost of Rs 5000. The initial baker was Hamza Masty. Student workers included Madhu Samuel, M. L. Hastings, John Victor, John Vethamuthu, Nelson Pe, and Subhakar Rao, who helped bake and also delivered baked goods. Products included sweet buns and biscuits, bread buns, cake, cinnamon rolls, cream rolls, cream doughnuts, and curry puffs.65

The peanut butter industry was likely among the “food production” industries that moved from Bangalore in 1942.66 However, new equipment for peanut butter in 1958 increased the potential to 500 kg a day. The machinery manufactured by College Maintenance Manager C. O. John included a roaster, a cooler, and a blancher for processes that earlier were done by hand. Now the masses could be supplied.67

Mrs. Georgine Grice started the confectionary early in 1978 at the request of President Cherian as an industry to generate income for the college and for needy students. Her confections would soon make the college famous in Pune with its selection that included apple and vegetable pies, and lamingtons.68 The acquisition of a store in the Wonderland complex on Main Street later that year proved to be an excellent outlet for college bakery and confectionary products.69

The Auditorium

The auditorium was designed by E. R. Streeter, Division building engineer. 70 It could comfortably seat 700 whereas the old chapel in the Ad Building was crowded when it held only 250. The size was ambitious because the enrolment had dropped from 199 to 178 that year, and the estimated cost was Rs 100,000.00. Ground was broken on Aug 21, 1959, and the Class of 1960 made use of it at the end of March 1960.71 Benches were pushed to the walls on Saturday nights so that students could play games indoors. The old chapel was converted into a library reading room.72 The Western Music Department moved into the basement under the stage of the auditorium where they had a classroom/choir practice room, two stalls for piano practice, and one walk-in wardrobe for choir robes. The North Indian Music Department moved into the tower room of the auditorium.

The Indian music departments had their foundation in 1958 when Rajan Daniel and Justin Singh were sponsored to study Carnatic and Hindustani music. They started teaching courses in South Indian and North Indian music in 1959.73 When the new auditorium was built in 1960, the Western Music Department moved into the basement, and the North Indian Music Department was given the high tower room.

Southern Asia Seventh-day Adventist (SASDA) Industries

In 1960, the Division purchased a twelve-acre plot along Ganeshkhind Road between the boys’ hostel and Aundh Road for a Division food industry. The hope also was to provide work opportunities for students.74 A call was placed for R. L. Watts to set up the factory.75 Skilled in metal work, Mr. Watts had earlier constructed the silver tabernacle in the South India Union for evangelism.76 He set about fabricating the factory building from aluminum, completing it in 1962. The stylish structure attracted other institutions to order buildings for themselves, and Watts constructed several other buildings for colleges and industries.

The SASDA Food Factory turned into an SASDA Industrial Service,77 churning out pre-fabricated aluminum structures under R. L. Watts. In 1968, the Division, keeping in mind that the land had been purchased from the government specifically for industrial development and vocational-training education of Spicer College, voted to shut down the building contracts and transfer the land and building to Spicer College.78 Initially, the factory housed the woodwork and metal work industries of the college. In 1973, Dr. Harry Miller, the inventor of soy milk, donated Japanese-made equipment for the manufacture of soy milk, soy cheese (tofu), textured soy meat, and soy coffee with chicory. The industry began by producing 200 litres of soy milk daily.79 The name SPISO (Spicer soymilk) was submitted by Isaac John.

Golden Jubilee

In 1965, the college celebrated its first 50 years of existence. George Jenson authored a book on the history of the college – Spicer Memorial College . . . A Dynamic Demonstration of an Ideal, which was published by the OWPH in 1965. The college store sold souvenirs such as stationery and pins with the Golden Jubilee logo. The aluminum Industrial Arts building, constructed by SASDA under Manager R. L. Watts, was inaugurated at the main celebration, and the Lowrys laid the foundation stone for a home economics building. The completed Home Economics building had large classrooms, a spacious lab with multiple cubicles for kitchens and for sewing machines, and a small apartment where students could practice home making.80

A tradition began in 1965--a cultural parade that started at the farm and ended in front of the Administration building. Various language groups constructed floats that depicted life in their home area.

In March 1966, the first issue of the college pictorial annual Oreodoxa came off the press. Dara Paul won the contest for the name that connected the annual to the royal palms that graced the entrance of the college.81 The botanical genus of the royal palm has since been changed from Oreodxa to Roystonia.

In 1967, a new 37-seater bus with the Mercedez Benz logo replaced the old Ford pickup truck that had served the college as its main transportation vehicle for years. It was one of a kind, made to order for excursions. The rear of the bus boasted a kitchenette and a bathroom. The inside was lined with Formica, and the windows had curtains. Wherever the bus went, it attracted attention.82 It even had speakers for a P.A. system. The number was MHJ3311, and it was entrusted to Mr. Suleiman Kisku, a driver who had transferred from SASDA83 and who cared for it meticulously.

Recognition by Poona University

A significant development in the history of Spicer took place when Poona University passed a resolution in December 1966 granting permission for Spicer graduates to apply for Masters’ courses. This was remarkable because Spicer College was not affiliated to Poona University or to any other university and was issuing degrees in liberal education that were not accredited by any government.84 The process had begun in 1955 when the Division Committee instructed Spicer College to look into the matter of affiliation with Poona University.85 The university commission submitted a preliminary list of requirements, but eventually the hope for affiliation was narrowed to the 12th standard Inter Arts and Inter Science (I.A. and I.Sc.) and the Teacher Training certificate. The Division wanted no compromise on the liberal system of education for religion, business, etc.86 However, the Division Committee of 1959-1960 was very specific in giving Spicer four years in which to obtain complete recognition operating within the principles of Adventist education.87 Since there was no progress, this was reaffirmed by the next Division Committee in 1963, giving the college another four years to achieve recognition.88

In response to a December 1963 Division request for funds to raise the college to the level required by Poona University, the General Conference granted Rs 2,38,095.24. In 1966, a subcommittee was formed to study the ways and means of achieving recognition without sacrificing liberal education. Dr. Cherian used his excellent rapport with a succession of vice chancellors at Poona University to invite them to study the system. This breakthrough opened the doors to Poona University for graduate study in history, geography, sociology, anthropology, philosophy, commerce, and English.

Post-graduate Education

Initially, the college offered a one-year teacher training certificate course for graduates who desired to go into teaching secondary school. Starting with the 1962 school year, Spicer offered a fifth-year degree course equivalent to the Bachelor of Teaching (B.T.) and the Bachelor of Education (B.Ed.), The degree granted was Bachelor of Secondary Education (B.S.Ed.), and their undergraduate major and minor would be their teaching areas.89

In 1981, Spicer College commenced two-year graduate diploma programs in business administration, education, and theology, areas not available to Spicer Students at Pune University. The Division granted a quota of 18 sponsorships for the first year, 10 for ministerial, and eight for the others.90 Two years later, an agreement was signed that made Spicer Memorial College an external examination center for Andrews University.91 The Division granted a special appropriation of US$250,000.00 for the development of the Masters’ curricula.92

With the opening of graduate study at Spicer, the need for research facilities became apparent. Thus, the request for an E. G. White Research Center on the campus was made and accepted in 1981. The center was opened at the time of the inauguration of the Masters’ programs.93

Affiliation with Other Universities

Even though India had adopted a 10+2+3 system in 1977, the Division would not compromise on the Adventist-oriented courses that included: Principles of Education; Principles of Health; Philosophy of Work; and Principles of Social Service.94 Initially, they were included in the +2 program, but finally the Division insisted on a 10+2+4 system. This pattern also made Spicer’s education eligible for equivalence by American universities and paved the way for affiliation at the Masters’ level with them.

Andrews University (Masters, 1983-1997, D. Min. 1996-2002). Negotiations with Andrews University bore fruit when the Division, in April 1983, accepted in principle the agreement sent by Andrews University.95 In 1984, six candidates completed Andrews University Masters’ degrees at Spicer— four in business administration, and one each in education and religion. At the commencement service, Dr. Arthur Coetzee, dean of the School of Graduate Studies of Andrews University, handed over the formal document of affiliation with Spicer College.96 Officially, the college was made an external examination center of Andrews University. Graduate faculty of Spicer were included in the Andrews Bulletin. The arrangement provided for an M.A. in religion, an M.A. in education, and MBA degrees. In 1992, as a result of Andrews University’s quest for accreditation from a prestigious professional body, affiliation for the M.B.A. had to be withdrawn though students registered in the program were permitted to complete the course over the next few years. The affiliation for the M.A. programs ended in 1997.97 In 1996, the Missions Department at Andrews University offered a one-time four-summer Doctor of Ministry program of Andrews University on the campus of Spicer College. Twenty-one of the 24 candidates graduated between 1999 and 2004. In 2009, Andrews agreed to offer a one-year M.Ed. course at Spicer, and in 2022, a second session of the D.Min. program commenced on the campus of Spicer.

Southern College/Adventist University (1996-2003). Southern College, Collegedale, Tennessee, USA, which had just received authorization to offer graduate level courses, stepped in to offer business programs at Spicer after those were dropped by Andrews University. The affiliation began with the B.B.A. in 1996, followed by the M.B.A. in 1998.98 Based on a request by Spicer administrators, the change of name to Southern Adventist University (SAU) was accomplished at their next constituency meeting in September 1996. At the signing ceremony, it was noted that both institutions had a shared history as training schools and missionary colleges. SAU terminated the affiliation in 2003.

University of Poona (2001-2012). Since the Division Committee had earlier approved the establishment of a College of Science in Bangalore and a College of Management in Surat which were affiliated to local universities, it was logical that the next step would be to permit Spicer to shed the liberal education system and to affiliate with Poona University. Through this affiliation, Spicer Memorial College of Arts, Commerce, and Science granted three-year degrees in Arts (B.A.), Commerce (B.Com.) and Sciences (B.Sc. in biotechnology and microbiology), and Computer Applications (B.C.A.). Later additions were B.Ed. (2006), M.Com. (2007), M.A. English (2008), and M.C.A. (2009). However, by 2012, the deteriorating situation that this affiliation led to in academics and in the hostels, and an issue relating to difference in retirement age policy of the government and the Division, led the Division to agree to the recommendation that the college withdraw from the affiliation.

Griggs University (2004-2014). In the void left by Andrews University and Southern Adventist University, in 2004, Griggs University, which at that time was part of the General Conference in Maryland, USA, stepped in and launched its own BBA program, and in 2006, the MBA program followed.

During the years of affiliation with other universities, Spicer continued to offer its own autonomous programs in elementary education (B.E.Ed.), office administration (B.A.A.), theology (B.Th.), and western music (B.Mus.).

Spicer Adventist University

In 2003, the University Grants Commission issued guidelines for establishing private universities, and the Division administration authorized the college to apply for private university status.99 Meanwhile, the Board of Trustees of the College, in response to the notification issued by the Maharashtra State Government for establishing self-financed private universities, applied for one in July 2013. Finally, the Ashlock Education Society received a charter for Spicer Adventist University, Pune, issued by the government of Maharashtra vide Maharashtra Act No XIV of 2014 in June 2014. The new university was finally formally inaugurated on August 28, 2014. The charter of Spicer Adventist University allowed offering of almost any program except for medical and allied courses. The centenary of the institution was held in 2015. A building for the College of Business was constructed on the former playground, and a new gateway displayed the name of the university.

The university cleared a critical inspection in 2019 which paved the way to graduate students whose graduation and documents had been pending. The first convocation of the university was held on July 14, 2019. Those eligible to graduate were those who completed Bachelors’ degrees from the 2014-2017, 2015-2018, and the 2016-2019 batches, and Masters’ degrees from the 2014-2016, 2015-2017, 2016-2018, 2017-2019 batches.100 Since then, convocations have been held annually.

In June 2022, the university received accreditation from the National Assessment and Accreditation Council, which is valid until the year 2027.101


Leon B. Losey (1937-1938); Edward W. Pohlman (1938-1944); Myrl O. Manley (1944-1946); Cecil A. Schutt (1946-1949); Ivan D. Higgins (1949-1955); Ronald E. Rice (1955-1963); M. E. Cherian (1963-1990); Don R. Bankhead, acting (1991); Neville O. Mathews (1992-1994); W. Gordon Jenson (1994-1997); Samuel M. Gaikwad (1997-2002); Justus Devadas (2002-2014).

Vice Chancellors

Justus Devadas (2014-2015); Noble P. Pilli (2015-2018); Sanjeevan Arsud (2018- )


Bhaggien, Paul. “South India Training School,” ESDA.

Christo, Gordon E. “Lasalgaon Seventh-day Adventist Higher Secondary School,” ESDA.

Eastern Tidings, May 1, 1929 (Double Number, 24:9), Mar. 15, 1934; Jan. 1, 1937; Jan. 15, 1937; May 1, 1937; July 1, 1937; Feb. 1, 1938; April 1, 1940; Aug. 1, 1940; July 1, 1942; Oct. 1942; Nov. 1, 1943; Jan. 15, 1944; June 1, 1944; Jan. 1, 1946; May 15, 1946; May 15, 1947; Mar. 15, 1948; May 15, 1949.

Grice, Ian. “The Impossible–Possible with God,” Ordinary People, Extraordinary God, Warburton: Signs Publishing Co., 2005.

India Union Tidings, May 1, 1917, 5.

Langhu, Koberson, “India Christian Training School,” ESDA.

Minutes of the Biennial Councils of the Southern Asia Division. Feb. 27-Mar. 8, 1929; Jan. 5, 1937.

Minutes of the Southern Asia Division Committees. Feb. 27-Mar. 3, 1938; Jan. 4, Feb. 1, 1939; Nov. 6, 1939; Mar. 7, Apr. 21, May 15, 1940; April 7, 1942; Mar. 1, 1948; Mar. 26, 1948; Feb. 13, 1950; Feb. 22, 1954; July 7, 1954; July 11, 1954; Dec. 8, 1954; Aug. 22, 1955; Dec. 6, 1955; Dec. 20, 1955; Jan. 4, 1960; Dec. 5, 1963; June 5, 1968; Nov. 24, 1980; July 20, 1981; Apr. 6-10, 1983; Aug. 29, 1983.

President’s Report to the Southern Asia Division Yearend Committee, Nov. 23-26, 1998; June 1984.

Southern Asia Tidings, Jan. 1, 1966; March 1, 1967; July 1, 1972; Feb. 1973; April 1973; May 1983.

Spicer Adventist University FaceBook page, June 26, 2019,, accessed July 25, 2023.

Spicer Adventist University website,, accessed July 25, 2023.

Spicerian, July 1953; Nov. 1956; Apr., Sept. 1957; Oct. 1958; Jan., Sept. 1959; Apr., July, Aug., 1960; Dec. 1961.


  1. George Roos Jenson, Spicer Memorial College--a Dynamic Demonstration of an Ideal (Poona: Oriental Watchman Publishing House, 1965). While the book is dependent on reports in the Tidings, which have been digitized and are available online, it serves as a convenient source for reference and a guide for the history of the College until 1965.

  2. There were several variations of the name—IUCTS was the fullest one. See Koberson Langhu, India Christian Training School, ESDA.

  3. G. G. Lowry, “Coimbatore,” India Union Tidings, May 1, 1917, 5.

  4. Gordon E. Christo, “Lasalgaon SDA Higher Secondary School,” ESDA cites “A History of Lasalgaon,” Southern Asia Tidings, February 1973, 3; A. L. Ham, Eastern Tidings, June 1, 1944, 3.

  5. Minutes of the Biennial Council of the Southern Asia Division, Feb. 27-Mar. 8, 1929, Eastern Tidings, Double Number (24:9), May 1, 1929, 11.

  6. There were several variations of the name, but SITS is the best known. See Paul Bhaggien, “South India Training School,” ESDA, quotes N. C. Wilson, “The Division Council: The President’s Report,” Eastern Tidings, January 1, 1937, 4; and “Further Resolutions Passed,” Eastern Tidings, January 15, 1937, 13; “Division Vernacular College,” Southern Asia Division Biennial Council #4641, Jan. 5, 1937:1-3, 1425.

  7. Eastern Tidings, May 1, 1937, 2.

  8. Leon B. Losey, “Spicer College Overflows,” Eastern Tidings, July 1, 1937, 4.

  9. L. B. Losey, “Spicer College Growing Pains,” Eastern Tidings, Feb. 1, 1938, 3.

  10. “Spicer College,” Minutes of the Southern Asia Division Committee #6175, Feb. 27-Mar. 3, 1938, 1577.

  11. “New Location of Spicer College,” #6536, Minutes of the Southern Asia Division Committee, Jan. 4, 1939, 1710.

  12. “Moving Spicer College,” Minutes of the Available members of the Division Executive Committee Held at Bangalore, Feb. 1, 1939, 1727-1728.

  13. Minutes of the Southern Asia Division Committee #7084, Mar. 7, 1940, 1845.

  14. “Spicer College Location,” Minutes of the Southern Asia Division Committee # 7084, Mar. 7, 1940, 1845.

  15. Relocation of Spicer College, Minutes of the Southern Asia Division Committee #6871, Nov. 6, 1939, 1796-97; Minutes of the Southern Asia Division Committee Mar. 7, 1940, #7084, 1845.

  16. “New Location, Spicer College, Minutes of the Southern Asia Division Committee # 7138, April 21, 1940, 1863.

  17. “Spicer College Location,” Minutes of the Southern Asia Division Committee # 7177, May 15, 1940, 1872.

  18. “Spicer College News,” Eastern Tidings, Aug. 1, 1940, 4.

  19. Eastern Tidings, July 1, 1943, 2.

  20. Personal opinion of the author based on his mother’s memory of it from 1947.

  21. Ivan D. Higgins, “He Shall Teach You All Things,” Eastern Tidings, May 15, 1949, 1.

  22. “School Flag” Editorial Keith R Mundt, Spicerian Nov 28, 1956, 4. “SMC Hoists Flag for First Time,” Spicerian, Nov 28, 1956, 4.

  23. Photograph in August 28, 1957, Spicerian, 1.

  24. Eastern Tidings, April 1, 1940, 4

  25. George Roos Jenson, Spicer Memorial College—A Dynamic Demonstration of an Ideal (Poona: Oriental Watchman Publishing House, 1965), 54.

  26. Eastern Tidings, October 1942, 7.

  27. Edward W. Pohlman, “Spicer College 1942-1943,” ET July 1, 1942, 3.

  28. Jenson, 71.

  29. Edward W. Pohlman, “The Governor of Bombay Visits Spicer College,” Eastern Tidings, Nov. 1, 1943, 4.

  30. Edward W. Pohlman, “A Good Name Rather Than Great Riches,” Eastern Tidings, Jan. 15, 1944, 4.

  31. “Spicer College and Poona Church School,” Minutes of the Southern Asia Division Committee #7918, April 7, 1942, 2105.

  32. Christo, ESDA.

  33. M. E. Cherian, “Overflow Helps Build at SMC—A Home Away from Home, Southern Asia Tidings, July 1, 1972, 10-11.

  34. “128 Pupils Studying in Elementary School,” Spicerian, Oct. 31, 1958.

  35. “Elementary School Begins Special Classes,” Spicerian, April 28, 1957, 2. Jenson, 88.

  36. Jenson, 73.

  37. R. F. Juriansz, “Financial Requirements,” Eastern Tidings, May 15, 1947, 4. See also “Gleanings,” Eastern Tidings, Jan. 1, 1946, 8.

  38. “Dining Hall Plans Spicer Missionary College,” Minutes of the Southern Asia Division Committee #54-112, Feb. 22, 1954, 27.

  39. Personal knowledge, informed by the author’s mother who was a student 1947-1949.

  40. “A New Cafeteria System,” Spicerian, July 18, 1953,1.

  41. “Cafeteria installs Refrigeration Unit.” Spicerian, Aug 28, 1957.

  42. C. A. Schutt, Spicer Missionary College, Eastern Tidings, May 15, 1946, 1.

  43. “Spicer Missionary College Degree,” Minutes of the Southern Asia Division Committee #10520, Mar. 26, 1948, 2849.

  44. David M. Prasada Rao, “Forward with Christ to the Unwarned Millions,” Eastern Tidings, Mar. 15, 1948, 4.

  45. “Spicer Missionary College – Granting of Degrees,” Minutes of the Southern Asia Division Committee #11802, Feb. 13, 1950, 3213.

  46. Jenson, 79.

  47. Personal knowledge as told me by my father who was campaign advisor.

  48. “Twenty Years of Progress at the Press,” Spicerian, Dec. 30 and Jan. 1, 1961, 3.

  49. “L. J. Larson purchase Photo equipment,” Minutes of the Southern Asia Division Committee, #1404, Mar. 1, 1948, 2802.

  50. Personal knowledge, as both my father and uncle took this course.

  51. “Recognition SMC College Section, Minutes of the Southern Asia Division Committee #54-310, July 7, 1954, 73.

  52. “Mission,” Elimination from Organization Name,” Minutes of the Southern Asia Division Committee #54-560, Dec. 8, 1954, 148.

  53. M. E. Cherian, “A Home Away From Home,” July 1, 1972, 10.

  54. New Bridge Over Ram River,” Spicerian, Sept. 28, 1957, 1.

  55. Cherian, “A Home Away From Home,” July 1, 1972, 10-11.

  56. “SMC Playground Development,” Minutes of the Southern Asia Division Committee, #54-424, July 11, 1954, 108-109.

  57. “Milkha Singh and Parduman Singh Inaugurate Sports,” Spicerian, Jan 31, 1959, 3.

  58. Barnabas Peter, “Large Playground Laid Out,” Spicerian, Aug. 31, 1960, 3.

  59. “Tennis Lures Staff and Students,” Spicerian, October 1958.

  60. “The Wonder Hen-the Explanation,” Eastern Tidings, Mar. 15, 1934, 6.

  61. J. M. Steeves, “Another Entering Wedge,” Eastern Tidings, Nov. 1, 1937, 3.

  62. Eastern Tidings, October, 1942, 7.

  63. Madhukar Ohal, “Farm Purchases Deep Freeze,” Spicerian, Aug. 28, 1957, 2.

  64. Evelyn Ward, “New Bakery Increases Student Labour,” Spicerian, April 28, 1957.

  65. “College Bakery Serves Poona and Kirkee,” Spicerian, Aug. 28, 1957, 1.

  66. Eastern Tidings, October 1942, 7.

  67. “Peanut Butter for All India Market,” Spicerian, Oct. 31, 1958, 1.

  68. Ian Grice, “The Impossible–Possible with God,” in Ordinary People, Extraordinary God, (Warburton: Signs Publishing Co, 2005).

  69. “Spicer Food Store Inaugurated,” Southern Asia Tidings, Sept. 1978, 16.

  70. Kenneth Wiles, “New Auditorium and Library Extensions Completed,” Spicerian, Aug. 31, 1960, 1.

  71. “New Auditorium Used by Class of ’60,” Spicerian, April-May, 1960, 1.

  72. “Library Reading Room Opens in Old Chapel,” Spicerian, July 31, 1960, 1.

  73. “Indian Music Students Demonstrate Techniques,” Spicerian, Sept. 30, 1959., 3.

  74. “College Finalizes land Purchase.” Spicerian, Aug. 31, 1960, 1.

  75. “R. L. Watts – Call to Spicer College,” Minutes of the Southern Asia Division Committee 60-291, Aug. 8, 1960, 75.

  76. “Miscellany,” Southern Asia Tidings, Mar. 1, 1960, 12.

  77. “News,” Southern Asia Tidings, Apr. 1965, 15.

  78. “SASDA Special Committee Recommendations Adopted,” Minutes of the Southern Asia Division Committee, #68-145, June 5, 1968, 34.

  79. Cecil B. Guild, “Dr. Miller Inaugurates Milk for the Masses,” Southern Asia Tidings, April 1973, 1, 3-4.

  80. Peter Parker, “Spicer College is 50 years Old,” Southern Asia Tidings, Jan. 1, 1966, 8-11.

  81. Oreodoxa, 1966, 2.

  82. Personal knowledge of the author, who was a student at the time.

  83. “S. Kisku – SMC Call,” Minutes of the Southern Asia Division Committee 67-135, Apr. 5, 1967, 33.

  84. M. E. Cherian, “Poona University Recognizes Spicer,” Southern Asia Tidings, March 1, 1967, 8.

  85. “Spicer College Teacher Certification Training,” Minutes of the Southern Asia Division Committee #55-394, Aug. 22, 1955, 112; “Committee on Spicer College Affiliation,” 55-604, Minutes of the Southern Asia Division Committee, Dec. 6, 1955, 166.

  86. “Spicer College Affiliation – Committee Report,” Minutes of the Southern Asia Division Committee, Dec. 20, 1955, 174-177.

  87. “Accreditation and Recognition,” Minutes of the Southern Asia Division Council #59-488, Jan. 4, 1960, 137.

  88. “SMC Recognition,” Minutes of the Southern Asia Division Council #63-432, Dec. 5, 1963, 106.

  89. “College Board Votes Five-Year Degree Course,” Spicerian, Dec. 31 and Jan. 1, 1961, 1.

  90. “Quotas 1981,” Minutes of the Southern Asia Division Committee, 80-208, Nov. 24, 1980, 73.

  91. “Spicer Memorial College & Andrews University – Association Agreement,” Minutes of the Southern Asia Division Midyear Committee # D 83-76/144, Apr. 6-10, 1983, 55.

  92. “SMC MA Development Programme – Request GC Special Appropriation,” Minutes of the Southern Asia Division Committee # 83-325, August 29, 1983, 117.

  93. “Special Donation – M.A. program inauguration at SMC,” Minutes of the Southern Asia Division Committee # 81-180 July 20, 1981, 55.

  94. Plus-2 Committee Report Southern Asia Division Committee, D 83-78/146, Apr. 6-10, 1983, 56-57.

  95. “Spicer Memorial College & Andrews University – Association Agreement,” Minutes of Southern Asia Division Advisory Council D 883-76/144, 55 (Mid-year DIVEXCO).

  96. Ashley G. Isaiah, “Spicer at 69th Graduation Service—Six Complete Andrews University Post-graduate Degree at Spicer,” Southern Asia Tidings, June 1984, 12-13.

  97. Spicer Adventist University website,, accessed July 25, 2023.

  98. President’s Report to the SUD Yearend Committee, Nov. 23-26, 1998, 3.

  99. “Spicer Memorial College – Private University Status,” Minutes of the Southern Asia Division Committee 2004-12, Feb. 11, 2004, 6.

  100. “Notification,” June 10, 2019, Spicer Adventist University FB page, June 26, 2019., accessed July 25, 2023.

  101. “Certificate of Accreditation,” Spicer Adventist University website, accessed July 26, 2023.


Christo, Gordon E. "Spicer Adventist University." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. November 02, 2023. Accessed June 18, 2024.

Christo, Gordon E. "Spicer Adventist University." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. November 02, 2023. Date of access June 18, 2024,

Christo, Gordon E. (2023, November 02). Spicer Adventist University. Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. Retrieved June 18, 2024,