The Thrissur Government College was established in response to strident demands from various sections of the society to have a Government College in Thrissur, the cultural capital of the State. The goals were to promote excellence in the sphere of higher education and cater to the needs and aspirations of the less privileged sections of the society. The college started functioning in the present Government Training College premises on the 14th of August, 1972 with 200 students and 9 teachers. Prof. Subbayyan T. R. was the first Principal. The courses offered were one Pre-degree batch each for the III and IV Groups and Degree courses in History and Economics. The college, affiliated to the Calicut University, was formally inaugurated by the then Chief Minister, Sri. C. Achutha Menon on 28th October 1972. Two more courses, viz. B. A. English and B.Com. started in 1976 and 1978 respectively. The introduction of the M.Com. course in 1984 added a feather to the cap of the college, elevating the institution to the level of a Post-graduate college.
In recognition to the good performance of the college and its potential for development, it was resolved to shift the college to a 25 acre campus of its own at Kuttanellur, 6 KM east of Thrissur town, close to the Mannuthy bypass road of NH 47. Situated amidst sylvan surroundings, the site is an ideal spot for academic pursuit and research activities. The foundation stone for the new building was laid by Sri. K. Karunakaran, the then Chief Minister, on 20th April, 1985.The shifting of the college to the new campus on 1-4-1991 marked a new phase in the development of the college. Three post-graduate courses were started in quick succession: M.A. History (1995), M.A. Economics (1996) and M.A. English (1998). The college celebrated its Silver Jubilee in 1997-98. The Jubilee Memorial Library and P.G. Block were built with assistances from the MP’s fund and C D C fund, in addition to the whole hearted contributions from the part of staff members and public. Later in the year 1997, the college was renamed as Sri. C Achutha Menon Government College, in memory of the great Chief Minister of Kerala, Sri. C. Achutha Menon. In 1999, B.B.S. course was started in the college which was later renamed as B.B.A. In 2000-01 a Physical Fitness Centre was started in the college and the Seminar Hall and the P.G. Block were inaugurated in 2002.The NAAC peer team visited the college on 19th and 20th of December 2005 and the college was accredited with B+ Grade (78.2% marks). In 2008, the Ladies Waiting Room was inaugurated and in the same year Edusat Connectivity was made available to the college. In 2011 the Smart P.G. Class Rooms were made available to the students.During 2012-13, two Science courses – B Sc Computer Science and B Sc Psychology – were started in the college. This caused to a sudden change in the role and functions of the college. In March 2013, the NAAC team visited the college and reaccredited with B Grade.In the year 2013-14, the college campus was declared as e- campus and green campus. Now the college has the reputation of being a premier institution in Central Kerala rendering its meritorious service in the higher education sector.
The emblem of the college is a pictorial representation of its vision and mission. Just beneath the name of the college is given the picture of a book kept open. The avowed mission of the institution is to transform all who enter its portals into better informed and more useful citizens. Even in this era of advanced technology and scientific progress, books come handy in a big way for the dissemination of knowledge. Knowledge is power. The Sanskrit dictum jnanam param jyothi forming part of the emblem means that knowledge is the supreme form of light. Just above the name of the place where the college is situated, is given the picture of a burning lamp. Significantly enough, it is shown to burn in darkness. A lamp serves to dispel darkness. That is what a guru / teacher also does: she / he dispels the darkness of ignorance from the mind of every student. The motto of the college clearly echoes the Upanishadic statement tamaso ma jyothirgamaya.