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 Honble 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.