After the establishment and success of St Xavier’s High School in Ahmedabad, and of St Xavier’s College in Bombay , the Gujarat Jesuits wished to foray into university education. A chance encounter with an influential citizen of Ahmedabad set the ball rolling in that direction. In mid-July 1954, while on a train to Ahmedabad, Fr Charles Gomes, S.J., Principal of the ‘elite’ St Xavier’s High School, Mirzapur, met Mr Rasiklal Khushaldas Patell, (the double “l” affixed to his surname was as much atribute to his singularity as to his eminence.) Chairman of the Indian Cricket Board, one of Ahmedabad’s industrial tycoons, and member of the Senate of the Gujarat University . Mr Patell persuaded Fr Gomes to start a college and promised to use his good offices to effect.
Seizing the opportunity, Fr Gomes immediately contacted Fr Fernando Arellano, the Provincial Superior. “And so,” says Fr Joseph Braganza, one of the founding-Fathers, “with a nod of the head and on the spur of the moment, St Xavier’s College, Ahmedabad, was launched, without a rupee in hand, nor a building on site – no trained Jesuits, no experienced hands. It was an act of daredevilry, the merest folly, a gamble that could have failed. But the two men who took the decision, Fr Arellano and Fr Gomes, were men of destiny, positioned at the right time and place, men of vision and men of faith, men who thought big and suited their actions to their thoughts.”
With the guidance and assistance of Mr Patell, Fr Gomes sprung into action. He filed an application for a new college, prepared the papers and produced the required documents to the University. Further, he started assembling Jesuit personnel for the proposed college, raising funds, taking loans, looking for land, and so on.