Maharashtra has a long and rich tradition of educational reforms. Mahatma Jyotiba Phule, Dr. Panjabrao Deshmukh, Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar, Bhaurao Patil, Swami Ramanand Teerth and other great thinkers and reformers have contributed to educational philosophy and movement in the state. It was therefore appropriate that the state realized the need of an open university, The university was established on 1st July, 1989 through Act XX of 1989 of the Maharashtra State Legislature, justly named after Yashwantrao Chavan, Maharashtra's great political leader and builder of modern Maharashtra.
Due to statutory powers conferred by an act XX (1989) of Maharashtra state legislature and the recognition by the 'University Grants Commission of India', this university is fully empowered to award various academic certifications like certificates, diplomas, and graduate, post-graduate, doctoral degrees. This university also takes all precautions, at all programme stages from 'Curriculum Design' to 'Examination', to ensure that the standards and quality of, education and examinations are preserved.
For all engineering diploma and degree programmes, where equivalence status is not explicitly mentioned, university has already initiated recognition and equivalence procedures, with appropriate authorities like "Board of Technical Education" or "All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE)". University will publish the results of these recognition and equivalence procedures on the official web site, as and when they are available. All these degree and post-graduate degree programmes are duly recognized and approved by the 'University Grant Commission (UGC)'. Hence, these programmes are equivalent to the respective programmes offered by any other statutory university in India, for the purpose of employment, promotion and further education. In this respect, the status of this university is at par with all other statutory universities of India.
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 present Pro-Chancellor Dr. M.A.M. Ramaswamy, a philanthropist and a patron of sports, is the distinguished son of Dr. Rajah Sir Muthiah Chettiar. 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.