The University of Delhi was established in 1922 as a unitary, teaching and residential university by an Act of the then
Central Legislative Assembly of the
 The University was originally to be named Prince Charles University. But then, Rai Kedarnath, counselor to the Chief Commissioner of Delhi and founder of
Ramjas College, explained to the Education Minister that so naming the university might have bad effects, as the university might fail, which would certainly antagonise the Prince. He suggested the name by which it is known today.
 Only four colleges existed in Delhi at the time:
St. Stephen's College founded in 1881,
Hindu College founded in 1899,
Zakir Husain Delhi College (then known as The Delhi College), founded in 1692 and
Ramjas College founded in 1917, which were subsequently affiliated to the university. The university thus had modest beginnings with only four colleges, two faculties (Arts and Science), and about 750 students.
The seat of power in
British India had been transferred from
Calcutta to Delhi in 1911. The Viceregal Lodge Estate became the residence of the
Viceroy of India until October, 1933, when it was given to the University of Delhi. Since then, it has housed the office of the vice-chancellor and other offices.
Sir Maurice Gwyer came to India to serve as Chief Justice of British India, he was nominated as Vice-Chancellor of University of Delhi. The numerous improvements were brought in University including the introduction of the postgraduate teaching courses and the establishment of laboratories were entirely due to the efforts of Sir Maurice.
 Realising the importance of a distinguished faculty to act as role models, relentlessly Sir Maurice searched for talent all over the country and roped in men of eminence to the University, such as
Prof. Daulat Singh Kothari in Physics, Prof. T.R. Sheshadri in Chemistry,
Prof. Panchanan Maheshwari in Botany and Dr. M.L. Bhatia in Zoology. Sir Maurice Gwyer is also called the "maker of university". He served the post of vice-chancellor till 1950.
The silver jubilee year of the university in 1947 coincided with India's independence, and the national flag was hoisted in the main building for the first time by
VKRV Rao, the convocation ceremony for the year, however could not be held due to
partition of India, thus a special ceremony was held in 1948, which was attended by
Prime Minister of India -
Abul Kalam Azad,
Zakir Hussain and
S.S. Bhatnagar. Twenty-five years later the golden jubilee celebrations of 1973 were attended by then Prime Minister of India,
Amrita Pritam and
M S Subbulakshmi.