The Annamalai University owes its existence to the wisdom, benefaction and philanthropy of a far-sighted visionary- Dr. Rajah Sir Annamalai Chettiar of Chettinad. As early as 1920, he founded Sri Minakshi College in Chidambaram, a great pilgrimage centre and also a centre for South Indian traditional culture and learning. In 1928, the Annamalai University Act was passed and Sri Minakshi College paved the way for the establishment of Annamalai University.
Dr. Rajah Sir Annamalai Chettiar, during his tenure as Pro-chancellor for 19 years, paid great attention to the growth and development of the University and took immense care to appoint able Vice-Chancellors of extraordinary calibre and learned and enlightened staff members who were scholars and scientists of great repute as Professors and Heads of Departments.
Growth and Development
After the demise of Dr. Rajah Sir Annamalai Chettiar, his eldest son, Dr. Rajah Sir Muthiah Chettiar, a multifaceted personality of rare calibre, strove with sustained vigour and zeal to lead the University into new horizons by setting new directions and goals. The Directorate of Distance Education of the University is his brainchild and a definite asset to the University. It was set up in 1979 and has been rendering yeoman service in continuing education to all age groups across the country. The Faculty of Medicine along with the Dental College, Nursing and Pharmacy Departments were initiated in 1980, and thus the cherished desire of Dr. Rajah Sir Muthiah Chettiar to set up a Medical college under the umbrella of the Faculty of Medicine was fulfilled in 1985. During the span of 36 years as Pro-Chancellor he nurtured and nourished the continuous growth and development of the University.
The University that started with only seven departments in 1929 has over the years developed into a famed institution of higher learning with 49 departments under 10 faculties thus gaining the reputation of being one of the few Institutions in India with all faculties under one roof. The University has the advantage of a well equipped Central Library and Laboratories that provide excellent facilities for undertaking research projects for Ph.D. and Post- Doctoral work. Several research projects, funded by national and international funding agencies including the State and Central Government, has been carried out by the various Faculties, in addition to which close co-operation has been developed with neighbouring industries for promotion of research and training programmes.
The University thus promotes the spirit of learning, fulfils the aspirations of enlightenment as aptly observed by Dr.S.Radhakrishnan when he headed the Indian University Grants Commission that “Annamalai University is eminently fitted to be a genuine centre of learning and culture by virtue of its situation and its beautiful campus”.
Numerous infrastructure facilities have been created to cope with the voluminous increase in enrolment of students in various on-campus programmes. New laboratory facilities in terms of space and quality equipments have been provided to cater to the needs of the learners and researchers. Video conferencing Edusat, Campus wide network, high-tech class room are some of the added new facilities.
An Internal Quality Assurance Cell has been created to monitor the quality of academic output. The departments of study conduct national and international seminars, symposia, workshops and conferences so as to expose teachers of the University to new trends in teaching and research at the global level. Students Progression Cell has also been created to coach students for taking IAS, IPS, IFS or Civil Services examinations. In keeping with the national policy of public health, the concept of ‘No smoking Zone’ has been put into practice. A Students Welfare Cell, for on-campus students, has been set up to develop the individual’s personality.
With a view to preparing the student for their profession and, in particular, to impart right attitudes and specific skills, the placement cells are functioning in three different locations. One to cater to the needs of the students in the Faculty of Engineering & Technology, the second in the Faculty of Agriculture and the third, in the Department of Business Administration for the students of Arts, Science, Education, Fine Arts and Marine Science. These cells advise students with regard to the choice of careers and higher studies. They help students to undergo in-plant training during semester holidays and also find suitable placement through campus interviews. They also conduct seminars and training courses periodically on Enterperneurial Development and Career Guidance Programme.
The 1250-bedded teaching hospital with a built-up area of about 4,00,000 sq. ft. provides basic as well as specialized healthcare services to various sections of the community in and around the campus.
Students can opt to attach themselves to any of the extra curricular services like NSS, NCC or YRC so as to develop social awareness, an interest in the community and with a clear ambition to improve their personality. To improve upon the physical fitness of the students, a sports pavilion with many infrastructure facilities has been established.
The University Library named after the eminent Scholar statesman and former Vice-Chancellor Dr. Sir C.P.Ramaswami Aiyer, is a key resource for the students and the staff. The Library is equipped with INTERNET connectivity and CD NETWORK station. Quite a good number of journals can be accessed through the INFONET facility.
The University has Memorandum of Understanding with many foreign Universities on research collaboration and exchange of students and staff as well.
There are sufficient numbers of hostels for the convenience of the students to pursue their studies on campus. Modern kitchen facilities, with safe drinking water, are available to ensure the hygienic conditions in the hostels.
The Annamalai University is a unitary, teaching, and residential university. It was founded by the munificence of the farsighted and noble hearted philanthropist and patron of letters the late Hon’ble Dr. Rajah Sir Annamalai Chettiar of Chettinad, Kt, LL.D., D.Litt. He started several colleges, and ultimately, the University in 1929. Since its inception, it has progressively tried to realize the aims of the noble Founder Pro-Chancellor. After him, his illustrious son, Padma Bhushan Dr. Rajah Sir Muthiah Chettiar of Chettinad, was the Pro-Chancellor from 1948 to 1984, and he sedulously nurtured the growth and development of the University. The University has had the unique good fortune of having a succession of eminent Vice-Chancellors to guide its destinies. During the last eighty two years the University has grown rapidly and has consolidated its position as a unitary and residential University with forty-nine Departments of Study and over 3240 members on its teaching staff. Annamalainagar is already a busy and full-fledged University town, east of Chidambaram, the abode of Lord Nataraja. The University campus, including the colleges, hostels, and playgrounds, occupies an area of about thousand acres.
The National Assessment and Accreditation Council has accredited
Annamalai University at the 'A' Grade level among the universities.