By: Mir M.Hosseini
After abolition of the Qajar Dynasty, during inauguration of the Majlis library in 1926, the idea of a modern university surfaced and was discussed among parliament members but the grandeur of the project needed in-depth studies and allocation of resources. The main problem in fact was that some Iranian officials thought it was too soon for a university.
On March 31, 1931, Minister of Pahlavi Court Abdolhossein Teimurtash wrote to Isa Sadegh who was completing his doctoral thesis at Columbia University in New York to inquire as to requirements for the establishment of a University in Tehran. Sadegh considered the letter an invitation to outline a comprehensive scheme for the establishment of a University.
In January 1933, during the cabinet meeting, the subject was brought up. Ali Asghar Hekmat, the Minister of Education stated the obvious deficiency that Tehran had no university, expressing a pity that the city lagged far behind other great countries of the world.
His words had a profound impact on everyone in the meeting, resulting in the acceptance of the proposal. Thus allocating an initial budget of 250,000 Tomans, the Ministry of Education was authorized to find a suitable land for the establishment of the university and take necessary measures to construct the building as soon as possible.
Reza Shah was thrilled by Dr. Hesabi's reasoning that construction of a university would eliminate the need for foreigners for infrastructural projects. Shah immediately allocated the compound of Jalaliyeh garden and paid 100,000 Tomans for start-up. Jalaliyeh garden was located in the north of the then Tehran between Amirabad village and the northern trench of Tehran. This beautiful garden, full of orchards was founded in the early 1900s during the final years of Naseroddin Shah of Qajar Dynasty.
The master plan of the campus buildings was drawn up by French architects Roland Dubrulle and Maxime Siroux, Swiss architect Alexandre Moser, as well as Andre Godard, Markov, and Mohsen Foroughi. The influences of early 20th century modernist architecture are today readily visible on the main campus grounds of the University.
While actual work had already begun, formalities followed and Majlis approved the bill to establish a university on May, 29, 1934. Reza Shah participated in a foundation ceremony on Feb, 4, 1935 and Tehran University was officially inaugurated in March, 15, 1935.
The Amirabad (North Kargar) campus was added in 1945 after American troops left the property as World War II was coming to an end.
The university admitted women as students for the first time in 1937.