Gandhigram was born in 1947. A team of dedicated disciples and contemporaries of Gandhiji, Dr.T.S.Soundaram and Dr.G.Ramachandran, developed Gandhigram, the home of many rural development programmes.
The Gandhigram Rural Institute (GRI) was founded in 1956. With undying faith and deep devotion to Mahatma Gandhi’s revolutionary concept of ‘Nai Talim’ system of education, Gandhigram Rural Institute has developed academic programmes in Rural Development, Rural Economics and Extension Education, Rural Oriented Sciences, Cooperation, Development Administration, Rural Sociology, English and Communicative Studies, and, Tamil and Indian Languages. Students who emerge from its portals tend to meet the personnel needs for rural development under various governmental and non-governmental schemes.
To teaching was added, the dimensions of research and extension in course of time. This three-dimensional approach became a pioneering model which earned appreciation from all over the country. The work of the Institute invited national attention and the Government of India (Ministry of Education), on the recommendation of the University Grants Commission, conferred the status of a Deemed University on the Institute under Section (3) of the UGC Act of 1956, on 3rd August, 1976.
Today, it has become a nationally and internationally recognised Institute for its contribution to rural education, so much so that the New Education Policy of the Nation reflects the principles evolved here in developing the rural university concept.
Started in a small way, the Institute has developed into a big educational complex, comprising seven different faculties, offering in all about fifty different programmes. It awards Doctoral, Master’s and Bachelor’s Degrees, Diplomas and Certificates through its seven academic faculties: Rural Development, Rural Social Sciences, Rural Oriented Sciences, English and Foreign Languages, Tamil, Indian Languages & Rural Arts, Rural Health & Sanitation, and, Agriculture & Animal Husbandry. It has, at present, about 2300 students and 125 teaching and 250 non-teaching staff. The programmes offered here have attracted students from abroad every year.