What is now called Govt. Murray College, Sialkot and takes pride in being the alma mater of the great poet-philosopher of the East, Dr. Allama Muhammad Iqbal and Faiz Ahmad Faiz had a very modest beginning. It was initially started in 1868 as Scotch Mission High School, situated in Kanak Mandi, Sialkot, but was in 1889 up-graded to the status of an Intermediate College at the request of the Punjab Govt.
The early history of Murray College is both interesting and singular. The Foreign Committee of the Church of Scotland was requested in 1883 to open a college in Lahore. It turned down not only the request of the Punjab Govt., but even rejected an attractive offer of £: 2500,as financial aid by one Sardar Sarwat Singh for the said purpose. The said Foreign Committee, at that stage, perhaps could not even dream that destiny had turned the scale in favour of the people of Sialkot.
In 1889, the Punjab Government again approached the said Foreign Committee to open a college at Sialkot. The Lt. Governor of the Punjab even earmarked a financial grant for this purpose. Consequently, in 1889, the Intermediate section of the college was started at the School itself. Dr. J. W.Youngson (1889-1891) was the founder Principal of this college.
Dr. Muhammad Iqbal joined the School in 1883.He was enrolled as an Intermediate student on May 5, 1893 at the age of 16 years and 6 months. His class roll No. was 2. There were 20 students, 4 Muslim and 16 non-muslim in his class in first year then called lower F.A. He studied English , mathematics arabic as compulsory and philosophy as optional subject at this college. Muhammad Iqbal appeared in the F.A Examination held under the Pujanb University Lahore in March 1895, under roll No. 383. His examination center was at Govt College Lahore. His result was declared on April 27,1895. He secured 276 marks out of 570. Only four students of this college 2 Muslim and 2 Hindus were declared pass in F.A by the Pujnab University Lahore.
For 20 years, the classes were met in the same building and by almost the same four members of the staff, incidentally representing all the major communities of the undivided India , namely, George Waugh, Maulvi Mir Hassan, Mr. Narinjin Das and Sardar Harnam Singh. They jointly taught seven subjects: English, Philosophy, Arabic, Persian, Math, Chemistry and Physics.
Dr. Iqbals teacher and mentor, served the school and the college for a record period of sixty long years. We, thus, salute the great scholar-teacher Maulvi Mir Hassan. In 1890, the total number of students on the College Rolls did not go beyond 17. When the college was shifted to its present premises in 1909, the total number of students was 41 only. With the shifting of the college to its present site, its name was changed to Murray College.
It was necessitated by a legacy £: 1500 left by Captain John Murray for the College. The college was formally inaugurated by Sir Louis Dane on Oct. 20, 1909. At that time, Rev. George Waugh (1891-1914) was the Principal of the College. It was up graded to degree level in 1913.
His successor Rev. Dr. William Scott (1914-1923) was an untiring, dedicated worker. He was followed by the greatest ever builder and disciplinarian Principal, Rev. John Garret (1923-1947). He along with Dr. H. Garret and his brother-in-law Rev. Dr. William Lillie (famous scholar-teacher of Philosophy) gave the College the dignity, prestige and an academic standard, which it had not enjoyed so far in the Sub-Continent.
By the passage of time, the total number of students and teachers multiplied. In 1923, the total number of students was 180, a number that rose to 424 in 1929, with the joining of Professor R.C. Thomas and Prof. C. W. Tressler; who was a great teacher of History and a stern disciplinarian, too.
B.A. Honours teaching in English Literature and Maths was started in 1921 followed by M.A. Philosophy and M.A. English in 1942;whereas, B.Sc., Physics and Chemistry classes were started in 1944 and 1946, respectively.
After Independence, Rev. D. Leslie Scott (1947-1956) who was born in Daska, a town near Sialkot, like his father Rev. D. William Scott had to pull on the college. However, the College was, once again, on its way to make remarkable contribution in almost all the prestigious fields of national life.
In 1956, the college was given a nationalistic touch, as Prof. R.C. Thomas, a reputed teacher of Biology with 27 years of service to his credit, was appointed as the first national Principal. He got retired in 1964. His Successor was Dr. F.S. Khairullah with almost the same length of meritorious service. He was an all time popular teacher of poetry and drama. He was a gifted orator, editor, writer, satirist and humorist. He got retired in 1972 at the time of the nationalization of the educational institutions by the Government. The College was nationalized on 01.09.1972; vide Martial Law Regulation No. 118; and, so, Murray College became: Govt. Murray College on 01.09.1972.
B.Sc (Pre-Medical) Class was started at G.M.C in 1977 owing to the struggle of Prof. Ch. Munawwar Ahmed, the then Head of the Biology Department. Dr. V.A. Das was succeeded by Prof. A.R. Saddiqui who was an old student of this college like Dr. Das. When Prof. Siddiqui joined the college as an undergraduate science student in 1947 and later as a lecture in Physics, he could not have dreamt that he was destined to become the executive head of the same college at the time of its centenary celebrations.
Prof. Ahmad Riza Saddiqui was, in fact, the First Muslim Principal of G.M.C. The Allama Iqbal Block was built in the College owing to his priceless efforts, in 1990. Mr. Siddiqui got retired in 1992. Prof. A.R. Siddiqui served the College for 38 years.
Prof. A.D Naseem of the Mathematics Department was the successor of Prof. A.R Siddiqui. Prof. A.D Naseem acquired a Land-Piece of three Kanals in the South of the College from the neighbouring Veterinary Hospital by putting in a great struggle and showing a keen vision.
Prof. A.D Naseem got retired in 1996. After him, Prof. Agha Afzaal Ali Khan (Head of the Psychology Department) became The Principal of G.MC. He served the College for two years in this capacity. It was during the days of his Principalship that The Computer Deptt. was established at the College( in 1998) by a private company, which was allowed to do so by the Govt. of The Punjab. After him, Prof. Arshad Siddiqui (Head of the Chemistry Deptt), served the College as its Principal till November 2002. Prof A.R. Siddiqui, Prof A.D Naseem, Prof. Agha Afzaal Ali Akhan and Prof. Arshad Siddiqui contributed towards the development of The College according to the sources available to them.
After Mr. Arshad Siddiqui s retirement, Prof. Riaz Sadiq a renowned scholar and an experienced teacher, took over as the Principal of G.M.C. Prof. Riaz Sadiq took a keen interest in the improvement, development and renovation of the College Building. He aslo added The Sitara Butt Computer Lab, donated to G.M.C by Sh. Basharat Iqbal, an old student of this College. Prof. Riaz Sadiq got retired on June 14, 2005.
Prof. G. Qamar Malik Awan became the 14th Principal of this College. After his transfer, on 26.02.2011. Prof. Javed Akhtar Billah joined as the 15th Principal of this college. GMC is making advancement under his kind leadership.