In the International Women’s Year (1975), Government of Odisha decided to establish a higher education institution for women in the scenic town of Dhenkanal. This led to the establishment of Dhenkanal Mahila Mahavidyalaya on 13.08.1975. However, this was not the original name of the college in the initial days. The present college was named after the visionary leader and daughter of the soil Nandini Devi who was the key architect of the college and, thus, the college started its initial journey as Nandini Devi Mahila Mahavidyalaya under the patronage of Government of Odisha. The college started functioning as an affiliated college under Utkal University. With a very humble beginning and without any physical building, the college started its undergraduate course in the premises of the local Secondary Training School for women with 112 students in 1st year of Intermediate Arts (I.A) classes and six teachers as staff. In 1981 the college was shifted to its own picturesque campus in the mango grove of the Mali Garden at the foot of Pani-Ohla Hills. Science Stream in +2 level was subsequently opened in 1998.
Graduate programme was started in 1977 with introduction of B.A (Pass) and subsequently Honours in Odia, Economics, Home Science and History were offered in 1981, 1982, 1985 and 1989 respectively. Sanskrit and Psychology were added as Honours subjects in 1995. Arts stream was further expanded by adding Honours in Political Science, Education and English in 2014. Graduate programme in Science stream was started in 2015 with Honours in Computer Science, Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics, Botany and Zoology. The college has now been able to house 15 departments with more than seven hundred budding students in both Arts and Science streams. With the establishment of Rama Devi Women’s University in 2015, the college was brought under its ambit and currently functioning as an affiliated college of Rama Devi Women’s University.
Dhenkanal Mahila Mahavidyalaya has been able to carve a niche for itself by constantly striving for excellence in quality education in the region. The college has achieved B+ level accreditation in 2006 in Cycle – 1 and again B+ level in 2016 in Cycle – 2 by the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) on the recommendation of the duly appointed Peer Team of eminent academicians comprising Prof. M. I. Savadatti, Prof. A. K. Panday and Prof. P. Subash (Cycle – 1) and Prof. Arunoday Saha, Prof. Ishwar Bhat, Dr, Geeta Tiwari and Dr. M. S. Shyamsundar (Cycle – 2).
Dhenkanal Mahila Mahavidyalaya which started functioning with little more than hundred students in a desolate corner of the Secondary Training School has now emerged as a premier institution for women education in central Odisha. The college implements 5T action plan of the Higher Education Department to achieve excellence in organizational practices and delivery of services as mandated by Government of Odisha.