The district of Manbhum under Bihar, now the district of Purulia in West Bengal, was lagging behind in every sphere of society, not to talk of education. The first modern school, according to Henry Rickets, was established in Purulia in 1853 in form of an EnglishSchool. Water flew down Kangsabati for the decades. India won her freedom in 1947, and JagannathKishoreCollege started its journey on 22nd July, 1948 as a private college affiliated to PatnaUniversity, thanks to the enterprising efforts of people from all walks of society in Purulia. JaharlalBasu, JatinDutta, ShyamSundarSinhaMahapatra, Dhiren Bhattacharya, Jagadish Mukherjee, Ashok Choudhury, ManmathKuiry and others felt it to be an abiding necessity, as the proficient students from this economically challenged area could hardly afford to pursue higher education going over to Ranchi, Hajaribagh, Patna, Bankura or Calcutta. The dream of these enthusiastic people came true when GokulKumari Devi, the widow of Sri JagannathKishorLal Sing Deo of the Kashipur Raj, donated a fund of One lakh rupees for the foundation of a centre for higher education in Purulia. ShankarlalSinghania, an eminent businessman of the time, contributed an amount of sixteen thousand rupees. A considerable amount of funds was also raised in form of public donation. The college was named after Late JagannathKishorlal Sing Deo, and it started with 109 students admitted to I.A. (Intermediate in Arts) standard with classes being held simultaneously in the rooms provided by HaripadaSahityaMandir and Union Club, Purulia. Later on the classes were shifted to PuruliaZilla School for a period, and, in the meantime, the college building was started at Ketika, Purulia at a land donated partly by Sri NilkanthanarayanSingha, the provincial Lord of Nowagarh who provided 27 bighas, and partly at the adjascent land of 7.5 bighas donated by ShashadharChoudhury and his co-sharers.
The college functioned as a private college till it was recognized by the then Government of Bihar as a Govt. aided institution in 1951. The foundation stone for the present Arts Building of the main campus was laid by Sri Krishna Singh, the then Chief Minister of Bihar on 9th September, 1953, and the inauguration of this building was officiated by Sri Anugraha Narayan Singh, the then Finance Minister of Bihar, on 10th October the same year.
The district of Purulia emerged on 1st November, 1956 after Bengal annexation, and the college came under CalcuttaUniversity. J.K.College was affiliated to The University of Burdwan in 1961, and in 1963 the college was taken over as a sponsored college by the Government of West Bengal. No less significant is the fact that J.K. College came under newly established Sidho-Kanho-Birsha University (SKBU),Purulia from 2010. The campus office of this new University was J.K. College, and the building of the University is being built at a site at Ranchi road, on a land of some approximately 40 bighas donated by J.K. College to the SKB University for this noble project in the year 2011.This is how J.K. College passed through sunshine and shower for 66 years to be now recognized as the premier institution in higher education not only in Purulia, but one of the best in West Bengal. The college was accredited by NAAC in 2005 and obtained B+ Grade. In 2010 it was recognized as a College with Potential Excellence (CPE) by UGC. The college has submitted letter of intent (LOI) to NAAC in April, 2013 and is going to be reaccredited shortly.