By: Bro. Bernard Mary
The starting point of Assumption Commercial College goes back to the second decade of this century when Bro. Rogatien first made a mild attempt at teaching the Pitman system of Shorthand to a few kids at Assumption College on an experimental basis. The effort was thwarted by the outbreak of the first world war in 1914 and its appalling effect on mankind. After the war in the new economic set up, the business firms in Bangkok felt acutely the need of qualified secretaries to work in offices and to step up with this growing need, people were brought in from other countries. The far-sighted Brothers of Assumption College who left everything behind in Europe and came to this country with the sole intention of doing good to the people here, saw a new opening for their boys to earn a decent living. In 1919 Rev. Bro. Hubert Cousin started teaching typing to a small group of boys, and during the following year, Rev. Bro. Rogatien decided to try again at Shorthand system as a trial; the result was quite encouraging. It is worth mentioning that in 1923 Assumption College entered the Shorthand International C.G.A. Contest, and won the second prize. In later years, as the need of Book-keeping increased, Book-keeping was added to two already existing clerical subjects. Till 1938, these three commercial subjects were taught to those boys who were interested as extra-curricular subjects.
The influence of the foreign firms in Bangkok and their steady progress, called for the necessity of keeping a high standard of English. Rev. Bro. Amado, who was specially qualified to handle this subject, took up teaching of English to the Commercial students quite efficiently till his death in May 1967.
The desire of progress for better advantage of students induced Rev. Bro. Michael and other Brothers at Assumption College to widen the scope and chances of their Commercial students, and consequently, Rev. Bro. Rogatien was appointed to work out an elaborate program for the commercial section to be presented for the approval of the Ministry of Education. His plan was submitted to the Minister, and the approbation was granted on the 14th July 1938, to function as a separate institution with English as medium of instruction. Thus Assumption Commercial College came into visibility with its own identity after a pre-natal period of eighteen years.
In the meantime, Rev. Bro. Rogatien made personal contacts with the Secretary of London Chamber of Commerce and obtained the affiliation of Assumption Commercial College with L.C.C. program, and the London Chamber of Commerce created A.C.C. as its Examination Center in Thailand. The first batch of 18 students sat for the L.C.C. examination in 1935, fie first ever held in Thailand.
During the Second World War, all the schools in Bangkok were either closed down or transferred elsewhere for the safety of the children, the Assumption Commercial College was shifted to “Villa Montfort”, its present site for those who cared to attend. During the ‘occupation period’ the students and the Brothers had to share the place with a Japanese Regiment, but in 1945 the regiment retired from the building and the Brothers were allowed to use the whole building for the school where it functioned until the inauguration of the new building on the 2nd of June 1947. Since then, the college grew up steadily under the able management of its Principals guided by the wisdom of Rev. Bro. Rogatien.
The next land-mark in the history of Assumption Commercial College was the effort of Rev. Bro. Rogatien to get admittance from the graduates of A.C.C. into the Thammasat University. This is what he recorded about his attempt as well as the outcome of it. “Thanks to the patronage of His Excellency the Prime Minister, marshal Phibul Songkram, and the good offices of the Secretary of the Cabinet of Ministers, Luang Chamnan Aksorn, his application was favourably considered. In their Session of the July 1955 (2498), the Senate of the University decreed the admission of the Graduates of Assumption Commercial College into the University, and they re-affirmed that the decision in three consecutive Sessions. But a hostile demonstration of the Thammasat students frustrated the Resolution of the Senate who finally amended that Resolution in such a way that the final decision rested with the Ministry of Education. The result was that no student could get admittance into the University.
At this failure, Rev. Bro. Rogatien turned his eyes to foreign universities. In this attempt, he was exceptionally successful with the Delhi and Calcutta Universities which, after a thorough examination of the syllabus, accepted our graduation certificate of equivalent to their First Year B. Com., and the students who graduated were admitted to the Second Year Course.
His next ambition was to seek similar privileges from the American University; but as he was forced to retire due to the old age and ill-health, he could not achieve much from these efforts. His letters were, however, very good instruments to gain popularity for the College in many of the American institutions, and as a result, our graduates could get admission into many Colleges in the states without any difficulty.
In 1960s, to meet with the growing need, the programme of studies was reorganized, and new subjects like Salesmanship, Marketing, and Insurance were introduced. To accommodate more students, and to have better facilities for the students and the Brothers, Rev. Bro. Hubert decided to put up a new building, and the work was started in April 1965 and completed in May 1966.
With the intention of upgrading the programme of studies of the college, approaches were made to the university of Santa Clara in 1967. On receiving a favourable answer through Rev. Fr. Richard Coz S.J., an application was submitted to the Ministry of Education on the 1st of October 1968 to add new section to A.C.C.—a Four-year course in Business Administration for student with M.S. 5, or its equivalent. The required permission was granted on 30th December 1968, and the new four-year-course was set up on the 1st June 1969. Now more space was needed. So the existing four-story building was enlarged by another forty-two metres in 1969, and was officially opened by Dr. Sukich Nimmanhaeminda, the Minister of Education, on 18th February 1970. Later this section, known as Assumption School of Business Administration was raised to an independent Degree granting College on the 16th June 1972, under the name of “Assumption Business Administration College”, and was transferred to its new site at Hua mark in June 1973.
Due to the success of A.C.C. graduates in the business field, parents were continually asking the College authorities to open admission to their daughters also. The transfer of Assumption Business Administration College to Hua Mark area, in 1973-1974 academic year provided the availability of more classrooms in the Rogatien Building. So, instead of increasing the number of classrooms for boys, the management decided to open doors of A.C.C. to girl students also. Consequently, application was submitted to the Ministry of Education for the required permission which was duly granted, and the first group of girls was admitted in March, 1973.
The next development started when the local Superiors of Brothers of St. Gabriel decided to give facilities to those students who are interested in getting M. 6 certificate by following Business programme, to continue their education in the Universities. So the old A.C.C. Building was pulled down, and a new building came up in its place to accommodate the new section which was started on 18th May 1982, with a group of 270 students.
This is the history of the Assumption Commercial College. At present, it follows the maxims set by the venerable old Brothers who worked hard for the benefit of their students. Its aim is to produce useful and law-abiding citizens for the nation, and to turn out yearly hard-working and honest workers to meet the vary needs of Business Community in Thailand.