MAO College (or Muhammedan Anglo-Oriental College) was founded by Sir Syed Ahmed Khan, the leader of Muslim renaissance in Indian subcontinent, in 1875 at Aligarh. This later became Aligarh Muslim University in 1920.
Mohammedan Anglo Oriental (MAO) College in 1875 marks one of the most important events in the educational and social history of modern India. Its establishment is considered as the first significant response of the Indian Muslims to the challenges of post 1857 era. It was an important catalyst in a process of social change among Muslims. "An epoch in the social progress of India" - with these words on his lips Lord Lytton laid the foundation stone of the Mohammadan Anglo Oriental College on January 8, 1877. Nearly eight years later, when the noted Orientalist Sir Hamilton Gibb looked back at the history of Muslim Transition from the medieval to the modern way of life, he characterized this College as "the first modernist institution in Islam".
The M.A.O. College was originally affiliated with Calcutta University, and was transferred to the Allahabad University in 1885. It was also around this time that a movement began to have it develop into a university to stand on its own. In 1920, the Act of Indian Legislative Council elevated the Mohammedan Anglo Oriental College to the status of a Central University and it became the principal Muslim Institution in India. Section 2(1) of the AMU Act says the university means "the educational institution of their choice established by the Muslims of India".
It became Aligarh Muslim University In 1920 by the act of Parliament of India.