In the 1940s there was a long felt need for a full fledged college in the Head Quarters of the West Godavari District, Andhra Pradesh. This need was fulfilled when late Sri Rao Saheb Damaraju Venkata Rao, the then Chairman of the Municipal Council, Eluru, took the initiative in 1944. The Municipal Council under the stewardship enlisted the sympathy and support of the philanthropic citizens in and around Eluru and embarked on a collection drive and deposited Rs. 2 lakhs 17 thousand in the Municipal Treasury as an earmarked fund for the starting of the college.
The college was inaugurated on 4th July 1945 by Sir Cattamanchi Ramalinga Reddy, the distinguished educationist and the then Vice-Chancellor, Andhra University and the college was named after him “Sir C.R. Reddy Municipal College”. The college started functioning as a second grade college with Sri D.S. Subrahmanyam as the Founder Principal. A constitution was adopted for the Governing Body in the year 1947, according to which the word “Municipal” was dropped for the original name of the college. The college name to be treated as an institution under Private Management by the Government from 1947.
The college was raised to the status of First Grade with effect from July 1951. when the University granted affiliation for B.Sc and B.Com courses. The college was granted further affiliation in Degree Courses for B.A (Maths) and B.A., were started in July 1954. The college opened the Pre-University Course with effect from July 1957 and Three Year Degree Course from June 1958. With the decision of the State Government a Two Year Intermediate Course started in the year 1969 – 70. Degree Course under New Scheme with one Main and two ancillaries were introduced from the academic year1971 – 72.
With a view to developing the College and improving the facilities, the Management collected donations from philanthropic benefactors, institutions and generous citizens in 1967. The amount was utilized for the construction of various blocks, cycle sheds and compound walls. Another remarkable achievement was the construction of huge Gymnasium in 1974 providing facilities for all indoor games. As a result of the relentless effort of the Management and the Principal, Post Graduate Course in Commerce was started in 1971. The Management also felt imperative to start Evening College in Degree Courses for the benefit of employees who want to improve their qualification. Thus the Evening College for B.A and B.Com., Courses started functioning in 1971. The Management constructed Modern Library Building in the year 1971.
The celebration of Silver Jubilee in 1971 is another land mark in the history of the college. Eminent Educationalists, distinguished poets, notable public men and popular cine artists graced the celebrations which were held under the able stewardship of Sri P.V. Krishnaiah, the then Principal of the College. The Management started Law Course in the Evening College in the year 1976-77. Subsequently B.L., Course was started in the Day College in 1980. A new Campus was constructed for Law College in 1983 under the principalship of Sri R. Purnachandra Rao.
The Management was of the view that some technical and professional courses should be started to provide better employment avenues for the students of this region. This dream came true when they started a Polytechnic Course in 1980. Permanent buildings and modern workshops were constructed in its new premises at Vatluru. It was shifted to new premises in 1983. The Management’s desire to start a College of Education to train and mould the graduates into ideal teachers took shape in 1984 when B.Ed., Course was started. A Public School was started by the Management with the intension of providing better education facilities to the children of this town.
The Management started post Graduate Courses in Politics, Economics and Industrial relations & Personal Management (presently MHRM). The Management strove hard and got M.B.A course in 1985 which has proved to be boon to the graduates of this region. In the year 1986 the Management started B.Sc (Industrial Fist & Fisheries) and B.Sc (Computers) in sciences and two courses in arts namely, B.A (Industrial relations) in 1986 and B.A (Social Work) in 1988-89. Two Vocational courses were opened in 1987-88. They are 1. Radio & TV and 2. Computers.
The College has become a premier educational institution in Andhra Pradesh. It has grown to be a Mini-University. Considering the all-round development and the infrastructural facilities available in the college, the Management was encouraged to apply for the conferment of the autonomous status. On May 11, 1987 the U.G.C accorded the status of autonomy to Sir C.R. Reddy College.