Cotton University (formerly known as Cotton College) is a Public State University located in Guwahati, Assam, India. It was established in 2017 by the provisions of an Act enacted by Assam Legislative Assembly to merge the Cotton College State University and Cotton College. The university made its way to become one of the top 200 institutions of the country by figuring in the band of 150–200 in the National Institutional Ranking Framework rank list in May 2020.
Cotton College was established in 1901 by Sir Henry Stedman Cotton, the Chief Commissioner of the erstwhile British province of Assam. It had been the oldest institute of higher education in Assam, and the whole Northeast India.
It became the constituent college of Gauhati University in 1948, and then that of the Cotton College State University, when Cotton College State University was established by an Act (Act XIX of 2011) of the Assam Government in 2011. The Cotton University Act, 2017 was made to resolve the problems between the college and the university.
As per demands of the public, Manick Chandra Baruah wrote a letter in 1899 to the British government to open a college in Guwahati, as Assam was the only province without a college and Guwahati was most convenient for the people. In response, Sir Henry Stedman Cotton, K.C.S.I., the then Chief Commissioner of Assam, announced on 3 November 1899 that a college would be opened in Guwahati. The name decided by the public, the Cotton College, was inaugurated on 27 May 1901 by Cotton himself. It was affiliated to the Calcutta University.The college was started with five professors, which included Frederick William Sudmerson, the first principal of the college, and 39 students.
The college was the centre of the freedom movement and the literary and cultural movements of the state to build the identity of Assam as a distinct integral component of India. As Gauhati University was established in 1948, the college was affiliated to it and became its constituent college.
On 16 October 1992, the college was declared as a center of excellence, an occasion celebrated in a solemn ceremony with Shankar Dayal Sharma, the then President of India. It officially became a post-graduate college.
Cotton College celebrated its centennial with a year-long program from 27 May 2001 to 26 May 2002. Krishan Kant, the then Vice President of India graced the closing ceremony. India Post issued a ₹ 4.00 commemorative postage stamp on 25 May 2002, as part of the centenary celebration.
Cotton College State University
Cotton College State University was created via an Act of the Government of Assam (Act XIX of 2011). This act received the assent of the Governor of Assam on 3 September 2011, and was notified via the Assam Gazette on 5 September 2011. The vision of this new University is to be a world-class one, excelling in both teaching and research, developing knowledge and skills with an emphasis on this part of our country, providing broad-based education to students to take on the challenges of tomorrow via modern curricula, learning and assessment methods, upholding the highest ethical standards, and providing a clean, efficient and transparent administration. The Cotton College became its constituent college.
The election to the University's first Academic Council and University Court was held on 22 February 2013 with three and five members, respectively.
A bill called The Cotton University Act, 2017 was passed by the Assam Legislative Assembly on 2 March 2017. By this act, the University and the College was completely merged. Upon enforcement, the University was renamed to Cotton University. By ordinance, the Governor of Assam, Banwarilal Purohit became the Chancellor, who appointed Bhabesh Chandra Goswami as the first Vice Chancellor in July 2017.