"Education is simply the soul of a society, as it passes from one generation to another." - G.K.Chesterton.
History is not merely a record of events and happenings of the past in a chronological sequence, but it also aims at providing valuable information for prosperity to know, to recollect and to cherish. Hence an attempt has been made to give a brief history of the growth and development of this Institution. This attempt would not only help in making a self-analysis, but also help in looking back into the path already traversed and in making constructive plans for the future.
The history of Chettinad reveals that this small backward area of Tamil Nadu fosters several philanthropists who voluntarily contribute and pour their wealth for the service to Humanity, especially in the fields of Education and fine arts. One such eminent philanthropist of Chettinad is our founder O.A.PR.M.Arunachalam Chettiar. His association and close friendship for several decades with Dr.A.L.Mudaliar, the great educationist and the Vice Chancellor of Madras University sowed the seeds for the establishment of this institution which was started with the sole aim of educating rural women students and empowering them.
Even a recent Research Survey on the contribution of Chettiars to education confirms the fact that our college is the only institution dedicated to the upliftment of women even during the days when education for young girls was unheard and unthought-of in a male dominated social set up. Though there are several other institutions run by Chettiars for both men and women, the township of Pallathur is still proud of the foreseer O.A.PR.M.Arunachalam Chettiar for having promoted women’s education even in the 1960s.
Thiru K.Kamaraj, the then Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, while touring Chettinad area addressed a large public gathering at Pallathur in 1960-61. In this gathering our founder made a public declaration about his intention to start an institution exclusively for women, based on the suggestions given by Dr.A.L.Mudaliar. It was the intense perseverance of our founder which made him establish a family trust in 1962 and through this trust Seethalakshmi Achi College for Women was founded with the great motto, Knowledge is God. Our founder was magnanimous enough to constitute the Family Trust in the name of his wife Seethalakshmi Achi. Both the husband and wife generously donated the entire wealth of the family towards the noble cause of education.
Mrs.Renganayaki Ammal assumed charge as the first Principal of the college after her retirement from service in Queen Mary’s College, Chennai. To begin with, the college was started with the strength of Five girl students. Before permanent buildings were constructed, the college functioned regularly in the premises of Arunachalam Chettiar High School, Pallathur, established by the founder in 1919 as the only high school in East Ramnad.
The seed that our founder sowed gradually sprouted into a healthy sapling. Now it has grown into an illuminating and fruitful Tree of knowledge with innumerable branches. Having established itself for over a period of 50 years and more, with many laurels to its credit, this Tree of knowledge gives shelter and offers sweet fruits to savour to all those who seek her. To accommodate women students who come from distant places and to ensure their safety, our founder started a hostel also inside the college campus, which now proves to be a home away from home to its inmates.