The Annamalai University owes its existence to the farsighted vision, enlightened wisdom, benefaction and philanthropy of a single individual – Dr. Rajah Sir Annamalai Chettiar of Chettinad. As early as 1920, he founded the Sri Meenakshi College at 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 Meenakshi College became the nucleus for the University which is unitary, residential, rural in its settings and progressive in its outlook. During his tenure as Pro-Chancellor for 19 years he paid immaculate care and detailed attention to the growth and development of the University in every field. He paid great attention in the appointment of Vice-Chancellors. Equal attention was also paid by him in the appointment of enlightened staff, especially the Professors and Heads of Departments. The Professors of Annamalai University were always scholars and scientists of great renown in their own field.
Growth and Development
Dr. Rajah Sir Muthiah ChettiarAfter his passing away in 1948, the Founder’s eldest son Dr. Rajah Sir Muthiah Chettiar adorned the Pro-Chancellorship. A multi-faceted personality of rare calibre, the latter strove with sustained vigour and zeal to lead the University into “fresh fields and pastures new”. He gave new dimensions, direction and new goals to the functioning of the University. The Directorate of Distance Education of the University, his brainchild and an asset to the University, was set up in 1979 and it has been rendering yeoman service in the continuing education to all. The Faculty of Medicine with the Dental College, Nursing and Pharmacy Departments, was started in 1980, and 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 of his Pro-Chancellorship, he strove hard to nurture and nourish the continued growth and development of the University both in quality and in dimension.
Dr. M.A.M. Ramaswamy – The present Pro ChancellorThe present Pro Chancellor Dr. M.A.M. Ramaswamy was nominated by the Chancellor to succeed his father as Founder Pro-Chancellor of the University. With the insight of a skilled entrepreneur, the organisational capability of an executive, the versatility of a venturesome industrialist, and the qualities of leadership and organization, he has continued to show the same care and guidance for the growth and development of the University with a sense of devotion and commitment.
Thanks to his guidance and encouragement, several new courses like bio technology, bio informatics and job-oriented courses have been started in various Faculties and Directorate of Distance Education. As a patron of sports, he has paid attention to the growth and development of the Physical Education Department, by adding to it the enviable Tennis Complex, the Gymnasium and Sports Laboratory.
The University which started with only seven departments in 1929 has, over the last 75 years, developed into a mighty institution of higher learning with nearly 48 Departments, in all 9 Faculties. This is one of the very few institutions in India with all the Faculties located in the same campus. The University can be proud of a well equipped Central Library and Laboratories providing very good facilities for taking up research projects, for Ph.D. and Post-Doctoral work. Several Research Projects have been undertaken by various Faculties funded by several agencies including the State and Central Governments. A close interaction has been developed between the institution and the neighbouring industries for promotion of research and training programmes.
Thus the University campus enjoys an atmosphere which exudes a fragrance of sweetness, heightened by enlightenment. As aptly observed by Dr.S.Radhakrishnan when he headed the Indian Universities Grants Commission “the Annamalai University is eminently fitted to be a genuine centre of learning and culture by virtue of its situation and its beautiful campus.”