The University was established by the Government of Tamil Nadu as a teaching-cum-affiliating University on 7th September, 1990 to cater to the long-felt needs of the people of the three southern most districts of Tamil Nadu viz., Tirunelveli, Tuticorin, and Kanyakumari. It is named after the renowned Tamil Poet scholar, Professor P. Sundaram Pillai (1855-1897), the author of the famous verse drama Manonmaniam. It is his poem that has become “Tamil Thaai Vaazhthu” the official invocation song sung in all functions in Tamilnadu.
The motto of the University is “Reaching the Unreached”. Around 2400 students are studying in this institution directly. The University has under its jurisdiction 66 affiliated colleges, 6 University Colleges and 4 Constituent Colleges, with 73,000 students on the rolls. These colleges, amongst which three are over 100 years old viz., St. John’s College, M.D.T. Hindu College, and Sarah Tucker College the oldest women’s college in the state, have contributed decisively to the cause of higher education of this region.
The main focus of the university is to produce individuals who have the expertise and intellectual curiosity to make a difference in their profession and the society and in conducting the research needed to meet the challenges facing the contemporary world. This is keeping us in line with the Vision-2023 document of our Honourable Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu Dr.Ms.J. Jayalalithaa, and her aim to impart quality higher education to the students. Majority of the students of this University belong to rural and economically weaker sections of the society. Hence, this University imparts education at nominal and affordable cost. The curricula of the courses offered by this University are periodically updated and the University has resourceful teachers to deliver the same.