The University of Gorakhpur is a teaching and residential-cum-affiliating University. It is situated at a distance of about 2 kilometers form the downtown to the east and almost walking distance from railway station to the south. Although the idea of residential University at Gorakhpur was first mooted by Dr. C.J. Chako, the then Principal of St. Andrews College, then under Agra University, who initiated post-graduate and undergraduate science teaching in his college, the idea got crystallized and took concrete shape by the untiring efforts of Late Pt. S.N.M. Tripathi. The proposal was accepted in principle by the first Chief Minister of U.P., Late Pt. Govind Ballabh Pant, but it was only in 1956 that the University came into existence by an act passed by the U.P. Legislature. It actually started functioning since September 1, 1957, when the faculties of Arts, Commerce, Law and Education were started. In the following year, 1958, the faculty of science came into being. Faculties of Engineering, Medicine and Agriculture came into existence in later years. Late Mahant Digvijay Nath also made valuable contribution in the formation of the University.
At one stage the federal jurisdiction of the University was spread over colleges in Gorakhpur and the adjoining erstwhile twelve districts with about 425 affiliated colleges. In 1973, when the Gorakhpur University Act was replaced by uniform piece of legislation called the U.P. Universities Act, about two dozed colleges located in five districts were transferred to the newly created Avadh University with headquarters at Faizabad. The jurisdiction of the Gorakhpur University was drastically curtailed further in its headquarters at Jaunpur. At present, with the establishment of new colleges and the creation of new districts, there are 425 colleges located in various districts of Gorakhpur Division.