National College, Tiruchirapalli was founded in 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 and Sri. Sivarama Krishna Iyer and a galaxy of eminent personalities. The college in fact had its origin to the National High School founded on the 11th of June 1886. The nascent nationalism of three illustrious teachers - Messrs.G.Sesha Iyengar, P.G.Sundaresa Sastrigal and B.S.Venkataramana Sarma - led to the founding of this school.
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 8th July 1959, the College was shifted to the new buildings within easy reach from the Railway Junction on the Tiruchy - Dindigul Road.
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 tallest among them being the late Shri. Saranathan, the college has grown to become a seat of Higher Education and has earned a reputation for high moral standards.
Golden Jubilee year was celebrated in 1969 under the presidentship of Thiru. N.N.Ramanatha Iyer. As a mark of Golden Jubilee celebration, a building was constructed and enchristened as Golden Jubilee Block.
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, the then Minister for Finance, Government of India, later became the President of Republic of India. To mark the occasion, a block named ‘Principal Saranathan Block’ was built. 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.Muthukararuppan was an important event to commemorate the remarkable services of the institution to the underprivileged sections of the society.
National Evening College, was started in the year 1978 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 designing and in course content. The ‘Evening College’ was rechristened as ‘Unaided Programmes’ from the academic year 2005-06 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.
As on date, the college offers fourteen Post-Graduate Programmes and eighteen Under-Graduate 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 in twelve departments and M.Phil in ten departments. The College was Re-accredited by National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) at ‘A’ Grade in 2011. 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 continues its march to the centenary year with relentless vigor, keeping its mission and vision clear.
The Managing Agency of the College is the Academy of Higher Education, a registered society. The College is managed by a College Committee consisting of fourteen members.
There are 250 Teaching and 97 Non-Teaching staff working in the college. About 3700 students are studying in the College.