In order to educate the poor and to promote Tamil literature, Sri Minakshi College, Sri Minakshi Tamil College and Sri Minakshi Sanskrit College were set up by entrepreneur Rajah Sir S.R.M Annamalai Chettiyar in the 1920s. In 1929, these three establishments became the property of the local government, which reformulated them as Annamalai University.
Annamalai University is one of the largest public residential universities in Asia and the first private university in India. Based in Annamalai Nagar, Chidambaram in Tamil Nadu, India, it is also one of the state’s best-known oldest universities.
In 2013, it was taken possession of by the Tamil Nadu government for financial reasons, which now appoints all pro and vice-chancellor positions.
The campus spreads across an area of almost 6.1km² and has 10 faculties: agriculture, arts, dentistry, education, engineering and technology, fine arts, Indian languages, marine sciences, medicine and science.
The university’s medical college – The Rajah Muthiah Medical College (RMMCH) was created in 1985 as a temporary building with 450 beds. It is now a gargantuan complex spanning over 75 hectares of land and with 1400 beds. RMMCH is now known as one of the best medical colleges in Southern India and is highly regarded in the medical education field.
It has several overseas campuses, including a study centre in Toronto, the Al-Mihad Institute (Dubai), OUR International (Abu Dhabi), the Al Hilal Education Centre (UAE) and the Al Noor Education Centre (Oman).
Famed for its commitment to distance learning, Annamalai University offers over 500 courses and represents the largest enrolment figures for this sort of education in India. It was the country’s first institution to offer distance learning postgraduate degrees in law, bioinformatics, botany, zoology, chemistry, physics and applied psychology.