Hemvati Nandan Bahuguna Garhwal University was established as a State University vide U.P. State Government notification no. (10)/(865)/15/(75)(85)/64 dated 23 November 1973. It has a rare distinction of taking birth through a powerful popular movement during early seventies in the last century. This movement symbolized the hopes and aspirations of the masses of the region of Garhwal for the development through higher education. The people of this remote mountainous region agitated for opening a university at this small but historic semi rural town of Srinagar. It was an expression of the quest for empowering their future generations for overcoming endemic economic and social backwardness, geographic and environmental constraints, re-assertion of cultural identity and harnessing of the local natural and human resources for development.
The university was converted to a Central University on 15th January 2009 by an Act of Parliament i.e. the Central Universities Act 2009. The University, thus been entrusted with new responsibilities to guide its students, faculty and all other stakeholders to achieve excellence in academics and strive for all round development of the students. Since its inception, the University has shown commitment towards regional and community development which is inherent in its teaching courses, research agenda and other outreach and extension initiatives. The synergy derived from circumstances of its genesis still inspires and promotes its vision for future. However, being a Central University, HNBGU has a Pan-India appeal and draws students from various pockets of the country.
The University, nestled in the lap of Himalayan ranges in the Garhwal region of Uttarakhand, is a residential cum affiliating institution of higher learning. It has jurisdiction over seven districts of Garhwal region of Uttarakhand. The University has three Campuses distantly located from each other - Birla Campus, Srinagar Garhwal with its extension at Chauras Campus, B. Gopal Reddy (BGR) Campus, Pauri and Swami Ram Teerth (SRT) Campus, Badshahithaul, Tehri. In addition, there are 121 colleges and institutes affiliated to it, spreading over seven districts of Garhwal region of Uttarakhand. In University campuses the undergraduate, post-graduate and research programmes are being offered in various disciplines. Besides conventional courses under different streams of studies, the University has introduced some regionally relevant courses that are of greater significance for the mountainous areas.