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 Rai Kedarnath, counselor to the Chief Commissioner of Delhi and founder of
Ramjas College, argued that if the university should fail, that would certainly antagonise the Prince. He suggested the name by which it is known today.
Hari Singh Gour served as the university's first Vice-Chancellor from 1922 to 1926. 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 initially had two faculties (Arts and Science) and approximately 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 in 1937 to serve as Chief Justice of British India, he became the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Delhi. During his time, postgraduate teaching courses were introduced and laboratories were established at the university.
 Members of the faculty included
Daulat Singh Kothari in Physics and
Panchanan Maheshwari in Botany. Gwyer has been called the "maker of university". He served as Vice-Chancellor until 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
Vijayendra Kasturi Ranga Varadaraja Rao. In that year there was no convocation ceremony due to the
partition of India. Instead a special ceremony was held in 1948, attended by then
Prime Minister of India
Jawaharlal Nehru, as well as by
Abul Kalam Azad,
Zakir Husain and
Shanti Swaroop 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.