The college encourages character building being woven into the total learning environment. Students are encouraged to be honest and hardworking, courteous in behaviour towards all, faculty members to be caring and responsive, and the emphasis is laid on personal dignity as well as simplicity and austerity in the total life of the college.
St Stephens College was founded on 1 February 1881 by the Cambridge Mission to Delhi in conjunction with the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel. The Cambridge Mission comprised a number of Dons from various colleges at Cambridge University, and one of them, the (later Canon) Samuel Scott Allnutt was the founder and the first Principal of the College. There was a St. Stephens School in Delhi, run by the S.P.G Mission since about 1854. The Cambridge Brotherhood arrived in Delhi in 1877 to reinforce the teaching strength of this school. The Government had meanwhile, in 1879 closed down its Delhi College here, thus depriving the city and the neighbouring districts of the benefits of higher education. St Stephens College stepped into the breach in 1881. The College was, in fact, an extension of the school and for some time, Allnutt was the Principal of both the School and the College. In the early years, both the School and the College occupied rented premises in two mansions built in the old Mughal style in the bye lanes off Chandni Chowk, opposite the present Central Bank Building. The College was housed in Shish Mahal in Katra Khushhal Rai in Kinnari Bazaar from 1881 to 1890. On 8 December 1891, it moved into its own beautiful buildings designed by Col (later Sir) Swinton Jacob, Chief Engineer of Jaipur State. These buildings stand on both sides of the road in Kashmere Gate, close to the historic St. James Church. On 1 October 1941, the college occupied its present home in the Delhi University Enclave. Designed by Walter George, it is an elegant two-story red brick building around four spacious courts. Built on ground levels, it has beautiful lines all along and in other respects too, particularly in the subtle Mughal motifs, it is a fine piece of architecture. Many more buildings have been added since 1941, the most remarkable of them being the Chapel, again designed by Walter George and added in 1952.
1. The library here at St. Stephens College proves its exceptional quality when it caters to the scholastic needs of both Senior and Junior members of the College. It is well-equipped with over a hundred thousand books, magazines, daily newspapers and a separate archival section which holds records pertaining to the history of the College. 2. The College has a chapel which is available to all, without any distinction, for worship and meditation. All Junior Members may visit the chapel at any time for prayer and meditation. In particular, the Christian Resident Junior Members are expected to join in the daily morning worship and other Chapel events that take place from time to time. 3. The Internet Resource Center, IRC, was established to serve both the faculty and the students within the College. The IRC offers two state-of-the-art computer labs dedicated to meet the general computing needs of students. These labs also provide the infrastructure to support faculty instructional needs. The operational hours are from 9 AM to 5 PM (Monday to Saturday).