The college was initially based in the Rang Mahal in Walled City of Lahore, which was leased by Dr. Charles from the grand wazir of Emperor Shah Jahan with the support from foreign missions. In 1889 it was shifted to Napier Road and was inaugurated by the Henry Petty-Fitzmaurice, 5th Marquess of Lansdowne. Again, in 1940, the college was moved to its present campus on the banks of the Lahore Canal in 1940. The college remained financially autonomous until 1960 when Pakistani government began annual grants for the college for its nursing program. The college was nationalised in 1972 until 2003 when the control was returned to the Presbyterian Church.
The university was founded by Dr. Charles W. Forman who arrived to colonial India in 1847 and, two years later, settled in Lahore, British India (now in Pakistan). He was the founder of the Rang Mahal School, Lahore, which was the first Anglo-vernacular school in Punjab. The school added a college department in 1865 which later became a university in 2005 known as Forman Christian College University. It started offering an American style world class education in Pakistan. FCCU started new postgraduate courses along with MBA in 2007.
One of Professor Compton's former students Professor Piara Singh Gill taught at the college as lecturer in Physics between 1940 and 1947. Two alumni, Dr. Sir S. S. Bhatnagar and Dr. Bashir Ahmad, laid the foundation for scientific and industrial research in both parts of South Asia by establishing ICSIR and PCSIR respectively.
Achievements of other Formanites, as the graduates are called, include:
Its Principal Dr. J. C. R. Ewing was knighted for his services to humanity and education. He served as Vice Chancellor of the Punjab University for seven years.
Formanite—alumnus and teacher of the college—Muhammad Yusuf Hashmi became the first Indian Principal of Madrasa 'Aliya in Calcutta, was recognized as an educator of distinction in British India and was titled Khan Bahadur by the British Crown. Later he was recognized in Pakistan also for his contributions to education and the Pakistan Movement.
Justice Sir Mian Abdur Rashid, who was a Formanite and also the first Chief Justice of Pakistan, administered the oath of office to Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah as the first Governor General.
The English poet and scholar Alamgir Hashmi served as lecturer in English at Forman Christian College (early 1970s) and as faculty advisor to Folio.
The university has designed its four-year bachelor's degree program in accordance with the standards for accreditation in the US, and is seeking accreditation through the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.
^ ab"Datta, Surendra Kumar". mundus.ac.uk. Retrieved 8 May 2012. Surendra Kumar Datta was born in 1878. He was lecturer in history and biology 1909-1914, and Principal 1932-1942 at Forman Christian College.
^ abBlack, Brian; Hyman, Gavin; Smith, Graham M. (2014). Confronting Secularism in Europe and India: Legitimacy and Disenchantment in Contemporary Times. A&C Black. p. 88-91. ISBN978-1-78093-607-9.
^"Archived copy". Archived from the original on 1 September 2009. Retrieved 15 September 2009.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link). Accrediting Commission for Schools, WASC. Retrieved on 11 October 2014.