20 Years Of SOC

School of Communication (SOC), previously known as Manipal Institute of Communication (MIC), has had its roots in Manipal since 1997. 2017 sees SOC complete 20 years, no more an adolescent. To commemorate this day, SOC is holding an Alumni meet on 13 August inviting all graduated batches. MTTN would like to commemorate this day by taking you for a stroll through 20 years of SOC.


For the first 3-4 years, SOC was housed in the first and second floors of the Udayavani building. The first floor had solely the library and the second floor had 3-4 faculty cabins and 2 classrooms. The first batch (1997) had 18-19 students, while the second batch (1998) had 19 students. At the time of its inception, the college offered only a PG course in MS Communication. The bachelor’s course was started in 2001 with around 20 students and has now grown to include two entire sections. In 2008, the Post Graduate Diploma Course in Corporate Communication was launched followed by Masters in Film Arts in 2010. In 2014, a B.Sc animation course was also started.

Mr. M.V. Kamath gave the idea of starting SOC. He was a journalist, living in Bombay, who happened to know Dr. Ramdas Pai, who is the President of Manipal University. Mr. Kamath simply mentioned to Dr. Pai that he had multiple institutes and therefore why not start one for communication – and that’s how the idea came into being.


The first director of SOC was the reputed Dr. Leela Rao – a mentor of the biggest names in the field of communication studies. Dr. Rao had a knack for research and spearheaded various projects and ventures, the most noteworthy of which was the introduction of ‘community radio’ to various neighboring areas. Research projects, study materials, video tapes, and cassettes were used to train people in the art of radio, empowering them to start their own stations. Another significant project explored the representation of women in media and ways to change it.
AM Plus, SOC’s weekly student newspaper, has been there since the beginning (1997). This semester’s editions of AM Plus are marked with a 20-year stamp on the masthead of each edition. Hence, even AM Plus is celebrating its 20th year. Since there were only 18- 19 students (1997), every week these students would release an edition of AM plus. Today, a SOC student does not have to contribute to more than 2 editions. It has a very beautiful history to its name as well. Udayavani used to bring out an English newspaper called Morning News. AM Plus used to be the Saturday supplement for Morning News. So, it became the morning supplement; morning = am and supplement = plus.

Article 19 was the brainchild of the first batch. It was the first communication festival in India. There were a few people who had planned something huge – massive for a bunch of about 40 people to handle; 1997 and 1998 batch. There was a large scale fashion show in KMC Greens and there were other events which were held in the Syndicate Hall. SOC was a small place back then, so events were held at other venues like the Planetarium Auditorium. “It was as if Article 19 was happening in the whole of Manipal,” said Dr.H. S. Shubha, current faculty of SOC and former student of the 1998 batch.

The evening of the fashion show for the first Article 19 was a wash out; there was knee level water at Greens, yet the show went on. “The models walked the ramp, and it was crazy,” jested Dr. Shubha. Article 19 itself went on a hiatus till 2005, mainly due to the lack of student
numbers as well as a student council.

The School’s iconic Quadrangle gets repainted every year in accordance with the college’s fest, Article 19. This tradition began in 2012 and is headed by the college’s art club, Palette of Design. The entire quadrangle gets repainted from scratch in less than a month, with the artists and designers burning the midnight oil.

The first two batches did not have television equipment available to them. MIC would hire the equipment from an agency in Bangalore, which was, at the time, analog cameras and analog recorders. The sound lab used to be in the Planetarium building, and the students had to travel to and fro just to get to their classes. The third batch (1999) had struck gold, as that was the year that MIC had begun to invest in equipment.


What stands as the SOC canteen now, was once the UG computer lab. This was back in 2002, when SOC built its campus. The library was just a small roofed structure. Currently, that roofed structure has been broken down, and in its place, we have the recently built extension to the campus. The college evolved into what it is today as the years progressed. What were mere office space expanded into a campus with multiple classrooms, A/V studios, and an extensive library.

Pro.Verb or Project Verbal, the college’s British parliamentary debate tournament was started in 2015. From then on, two successful years for Pro.verb have been held. Pro.verb 2017 is set to happen in September.

Dr. H. S. Shubha, current faculty of SOC and former student of 1998 batch, said, “I’ve grown with this college. I’ve grown old, while the college stays young. I’ve seen generations of students now. It feels nice when the alumni come back because they’ve achieved something in life. To remember them as those young, naïve kids just out of school and to see them as successful people today feels good”

Aishwarya Sanjay & Bhavna Subramanian for MTTN

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