National College, Tiruchirapalli was founded on 11th June, 1919, thanks to the munificence of the late Diwan Bahadur S.Rm.CT.Pethachi Chettiar, Zamindar of Andipatti and the collective initiative and zeal of Justice T.V.Seshagiri Iyer, Sir.T.Desikachariar, N.D.Subbarama Iyer, Sri.Sivarama Krishna Iyer and a galaxy of social reformers and nationalists. During the initial years, it was only a Second Grade College offering Intermediate courses and was soon upgraded to First Grade College on the 11th of June 1924 with the introduction of undergraduate programmes.
The founders conceived the idea of a national institution to promote among its youth the highest and the loftiest ideals which constitute the essence of Indian Culture and Nationalism. True to its name, National College continues to impart cultural values and fulfil its role as one of the premiere nation-building institutions of the country. Under the stewardship of eminent scholars and administrators as its principals, the college has grown to become a seat of higher education and has earned a reputation for high moral and educational standards. In fact, it was Principal Saranathan, who had a long stint as its principal, chose the motto of this College – “Saa Vidyaa Yaa Vimukthayea” – which means “That alone is knowledge which liberates,” implying to provide education to the youth of those days to liberate themselves not only from the clutches of colonialism but also from poverty, ignorance, oppression, casteism and so on. The motto has relevance even today as it continues to provide quality education largely to the students of socially and economically backward families from villages nearby with the intent of transforming their lives.
The College functioned in the old Teppakulam campus for nearly four decades from 1919. The shifting of the College campus from Teppakulam to the Junction area began with the acquisition of land in 1957-58. Forty years after its inception, on the 8th of July 1959, the College was shifted to the present campus within easy reach from the railway Junction and the central bus stand on the Tiruchirappalli – Dindigul highway.
The College celebrated its Golden Jubilee in the year 1969 under the presidentship of Shri. N.R.Sundararaja Iyer. The Golden Jubilee Block was constructed and dedicated for the use of students during this period.
The College had the privilege of celebrating its Diamond Jubilee during the year 1980-81, under the presidentship of Hon’ble Shri.R.Venkataraman, the most distinguished alumnus and the then Minister for Finance, Government of India. Later, he became the President of Republic of India. To mark the occasion, a new block named ‘Principal Saranathan Block’ was built. It houses the college library now. The College fondly remembered with gratitude its principal architect and paid rich encomiums to its glorious line of teachers.
The celebration of the Platinum Jubilee in February 1995 under the presidentship of the esteemed Vice-Chancellor of Bharathidasan University Dr. V. R. Muthukaruppan was an important event to commemorate the remarkable services of the institution to the underprivileged sections of the society.
The College celebrated its Centenary Year with all grandeur and splendour under the presidentship of Dr. V. Krishnamurthy. Honourable M. Venkaiah Naidu, Vice President of India, formally inaugurated the celebrations on the 10th of January 2020. The memorable event was an occasion to cherish for those hundreds of illustrious alumni, retired teaching and non-teaching staff and the entire student and staff community that had gathered. India Post released a commemorative stamp under the “My Stamp” scheme during the occasion. An imposing and magnificent entrance arch was constructed and a plaque was also erected to mark the centenary celebrations.
National Evening College was started in the year 1978 in order to cater to the rising demands of a new generation of students. Many new courses were introduced and the student population became a fair mix of rural and urban students. The IT revolution brought forth unforeseen changes in curriculum design and in course content. The ‘Evening College’ was rechristened as ‘unaided programmes’ from the academic year 2005-2006 and they co-exist with the aided programmes. Continuing to respond to its social commitment and the national call for the opening of the portals of higher education to girls, the College introduced co-education pattern from the academic year 2007. The Shift II classes were introduced from the year 2015-2016 in order to meet the growing demands for admission in various courses.
As on date, the College offers nineteen Postgraduate Programmes and twenty-one Undergraduate Programmes. Truly the College has been recognised as one of the Centres of Advanced Learning and has been accorded permission for registering candidates for research leading to the award of PhD degree in fourteen departments. Besides many departments offer value-added and skill-based certificate and diploma courses. Most of the staff members actively involve themselves in research and produce high quality research publications. The college has also developed adequate infrastructure for high-end research, the best among them is National College Instrumentation Facility (NCIF) which supports a wide spectrum of researchers in the departments of science not only of our College but also of institutions across peninsular India.
Dr. Kalamegham Centre for Studies on Indian Culture and Heritage was started in February 2017 by the management of the college. Its first initiative was the starting of Sri Sarguneswarar Vedha Padasala, which is a fully residential Vedic School, located inside the college campus.
The College was first accredited by National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) at ‘A’ level in 2005 and Re-Accredited in III Cycle at ‘A+’ Grade in 2016. The University Grants Commission, New Delhi, conferred Autonomous status on the College in 2010. The College has also been conferred the rare distinction of ‘College with Potential for Excellence’ status in 2011. The College has been identified by MHRD, Government of India under Study in India (SII) programme to admit foreign students in various programmes.
Dr. V. Krishnamurthy Educational Foundation, a registered society, is the Managing Agency of the College. The College is managed by a College Committee consisting of fourteen members with Dr. V. Krishnamurthy as its President and Shri. K. Raghunathan as its Secretary.
Currently, the College has 265 dedicated teaching staff, 100 non-teaching staff and about 5000 students on its rolls. It continues to march forward with relentless vigour, keeping its vision and mission clear