Purnea college, Purnia, established in 1948, is the oldest institution of higher education in this region. Situated on the periphery, adjoining West Bengal in the east and Nepal in the north, the institution is a commemoration of the efforts of the freedom fighters of this area. Late Dr. Lakshmi Narayan Sudhanshu, Ram Narayan Mandal (Both former speakers of Bihar legislative Assembly) Bhola Paswan Shastri (Ex Chief Minister of Bihar and Central Minister), noted freedom fighter and Sarvodya leader Late Baidyanath Choudhary, Late Rai Bahadur Durga, Prasanna Ghosh, Raghuwansh Prasad Singh, Upendra Narayan Choudhary, Anup Lal Mehta, Haji Ziaur Rahman, Seth Raut Mal, Kumar Bimlanand Sinha of Banaili Estate and the then District Magistrate Shiv Prasad Singh, were the inspiring force behind the establishment of this college.
The urgency and necessity of establishing a college here compelled Sudhanshujee to move fast and it conceived first of all at Gokul Krishna Ashram in 1944 but the effect of Quit India Movement still running at a pace found the pioneers of this mission behind the premises of different prisons. Just after the independence these stalwarts of the area found their dream come true. The state capital being 300 kms away without road connectivity, the nearest college being 100 kms away at Bhagalpur across the river Ganga, only a few could manage to have their wards sent to far away places for higher learning. Varanasi, Patna, Kolkata, even Bhagalpur and Muzaffarpur were out of bound for common people of this area which is predominantly connected with agriculture even today.
The college has three main streams - Arts, Science and Commerce up to the Post Graduate level. The B.C.A. Hons course was sponsored by UGC in 1997 and later on B.C.A. (Semester course), B.B.A Programme were launched under self Financing scheme. The college provides accommodation and infrastructural support to IGNOU and NOU study centres; the community college has added a new chapter in the ongoing journey of the college.
The institution is indebted to both U.G.C. and the State Government for their support. The newly built massive examination hall and a new hostel by the state Government has lessened the load to a great extent in matters of conducting examinations in a secure way and lodging facilities of students in a fair manner. The college has two premises, the main building is situated in the middle of 47.24 acres and the others part is the massive open ground of known as Rangbhumi Maidan comprising the Indira Gandhi Stadium built by the central government. There is enough scope of developing a sports complex in the Rangbhoomi Maidan.
The institution has a glorious past and bright future. Late Janardan Prasad Jha "Dwiz", the noted poet of national fame was the first permanent Principal of the college, Dr. Madneshwar Mishra, the Principal, was appointed the first vice-chancellor of Lalit Narayan Mithila University in 1972. We very aptly remember our past students, Abhas Kumar Chatterjee (I.A.S Topper. 1966) noted litterateurs Madhukar Gangadhar, Subal Ganguly, Kamla Parasd Bekhabar, Ravindra Nath Thakur and several others on positions of authority and Social life.
The college has recently been declared as a centre of excellence by the State Government but it only gives us impetus, the faculty members are aware of their responsibilities. Devoted and academic friendly teachers nourished this institution right from its inception and the process continues, our motto may well be reflected in the lines of Robert Frost-
" The Woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I Sleep,
And miles to go before I Sleep "