Dr. R.M. Alagappa Chettiar a man of rare wisdom and forethought, founded Alagappa Chettiar Educational Trust with the sole aim of developing the backward area of Karaikudi into a centre for higher education and provided necessary funds for the establishment of educational institutions. In 1952 21st July, ACCET started functioning with three faculties-Civil, Mechanical and Electrical and Electronics Engineering. The Foundation tablet for the main building of the college was laid by Dr. Rajendra Prasad, the then President of India on 19th February 1953. Subsequently, in 1966, the institution was handed over to Govt. of Tamil Nadu.
In 1969 a new faculty, Electronics and Communication Engineering was started.
In 1983, M.E. in Microwave and Optical Engineering
In 1988, Master of Computer Application (M.C.A) were started.
In 2001, B.E. Degree course in Computer Science and Engineering was also introduced.
The college has become a constituent college of Anna University from 31.12.2001. The college has been recognized as a research centre and about 25 scholars are pursuing research. PG courses in various disciplines are offered from the academic year 2002-03.
On the Occasion of laying of the foundation stone of the Central Electro Chemical Research Institute(CECRI), by Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru on 25th July 1948 Dr. Chettiar, in his Welcome address, said "It is my hope to start here an engineering college immediately, a college which God and the University of Madras willing will start functioning with Civil Engineering by the academic year 1949." In 1952, Dr. Chettiar's dream came true. ACCET started functioning from 21st July 1952 with three faculties-Civil, Mechanical and Electrical and Electronics Engineering. Before Dr. Chettiar could bring all his dreams into reality, he passed away.