As the University of Tehran is the symbol of higher education of Iran, the main gate of the University in central Tehran, with its specific design and architecture is in a more general sense, a logo of education in Iran.
Rooted in Jondi Shapur University which goes back over 2,000 years, the University of Tehran in its traditional form was established seven centuries ago. It was founded firstly in religious seminaries ("Houza" or traditional religious schools). Other than religious studies, the education then covered mathematics, astronomy, medicine, literature, biology, physics and chemistry. During the modern era, the University of Tehran evolved from a religious structure to a more modern and academic structure of higher education. Dar-ol-Fonoon College was the first engineering school in its modern form which was established almost a century ago.
This was 20 years before the establishment of similar colleges in Tokyo (Japan). Amir Kabir, the Prime Minster of Iran during the Qajar dynasty (1848-1851), having witnessed the modern sciences during his journey to Russia and the Ottoman Empire, established Dar-ol-Fonoon College. Engineering, medical and industrial sciences were among the programs taught at the College. The first instructors of the College were seven professors from Austria. Dar-ol-Fonoon was turned into an official state-run university, the first dean of which was the foreign minister of the time, Mirza Mohammad Ali Khan.
The initial plan of turning the College into a national university was ordered by Abdol-Hossein Teimoortash, Minister of the Court of the time to Doctor Isa Sedigh. The plan was ratified by the king, Reza shah. The plan would establish faculties of Theology (Ma’ghool-o-Manghool), Natural, Economics and Engineering Sciences. The Minister of Science at the time, also in charge of implementation of the plan was Ali Asghar Hekmat, whose collections of books are kept at the University’s main library. Other teacher training colleges and Industrial schools became subdivisions of the University to which ad hoc schools and institutions would be added. It was not until 1933 that the plan was passed by the National Parliament. Due to the absence of large buildings, the mansion of the Teachers Training College for example was adopted for the Faculty of Humanities and Literature.
The University of Tehran was inaugurated in the winter of 1934. Ali Asghar Hekmat, the Minister of Science, became the first Dean of the University. The University Council was constituted of several prominent faculty members including Loghman-o-doleh and Dr. Amir A’lam from Medicine; Dehkhoda and Sedig Hazrat (Mohammad Mazaher) from Law; Sedigh A’lam and Mirza Gholam-Hossein Khan Rahnama and Dr. Siasi from Literature and Humanities; Haj. Seyed Nasrollah Naghavi and Badi-o-zaman from Ma’ghool –o- Manghool; and Dr Hesabi and Amin from the Faculty of Engineering. Also, Dr. Vali-o-llah Khan Nasr was added by the Science Ministry due to his contributions to the University.