One of the first 16 Universities in India, the University of Kerala was founded as the University of Travancore in the erstwhile princely state of Travancore (now southern part of Kerala and some neighboring parts of the state of Tamil Nadu) in 1937. During the 7 decades since, the University of Kerala grew and shrunk physically and transformed itself in many ways. The earliest origins of the University may be traced back to two institutions of modern learning in Kerala, the University College, Thiruvananthapuram and the Trivandrum Observatory. The University College was initially founded as the Maharaja’s Free School by Maharaja Swathi Thirunal in 1836, with Mr John Roberts, a Christian missionary as Headmaster, and soon grew into a college in 1866, affiliated to the Madras University. When the University of Travancore was founded, the Departments of the college became the University Departments. The Trivandrum Observatory was founded in 1838 and had an internationally reputed scientist, John Caldecott FRS as its first Director. It is now the oldest institution under the Kerala University. At present, the University has sixteen faculties (subject groups) and forty two departments of teaching and research in addition to study centres and other departments. Teaching, research and knowledge extension are the mandates of the Departments. They primarily focus on post-graduate (masters) programmes, MPhil programmes (1-year research degree) and doctoral research. The University has a total student population of about 65,000 in various institutions. University’s research activities are also going on in selected affiliated colleges and other recognized research centers in and outside the state. In 2013, the University awarded 200 PhDs. The total number of full-time students in the University Departments is above 2000 including a modest number of foreign students. The Institute of Distance Education offers a number of bachelors and masters programmes which cater to more than 7000 students all over the country and abroad. The number of students in the affiliated colleges number over 50,000 spread out in more than 200 colleges. The University has also established 10 University Colleges of Teacher Education (UTEC) and 8 University Institute of Technologies (UIT) both of which offer bachelors programmes (B. Ed in UTECs and BSc Computer Science/IT, Electronics/BBA in UITs). The University College of Engineering at Kariavattom offers engineering education at bachelors’ level. These institutions together have student strength of more than 5000. The University has been publishing since 1946 the Journal of Indian History, a prominent publication in the area. The Manuscript Library of the University is a treasure trove of Indian culture. The library has over 65,000 works in 30,000 copies mainly of palm leaf manuscripts, in addition to paper manuscripts, copper plates, birch bark and textiles. The manuscript collection also includes those belonging to Burma, Malaysia, Indonesia, Nepal etc. The University of Kerala is well known for empowering its students. The University Union, Departments Union, Research Students Union are all forums that are established through democratic process and positions in these forums are fiercely competed. Elected student representatives have membership in supreme bodies of the University such as Senate, Academic Council and also Syndicate, the executive committee of the University. The University has a state of the art stadium in the centre of the city, with synthetic track. Students of the University have many achievements at the state and national level in sports and games. The University also has a ‘National Service Scheme’ with a corp. of students trained in service to the society. The Adult Education Department of the University has received UNESCO-NLM award in 2005. The University Library established in 1942 has over 3, 00,000 books and gives access to over 9000 on-line journals. The University has published an English translation of the classic Dutch work, “Hortus Malabaricus” a 20-volume treatise on plant wealth of Kerala, in 2003.