Himgiri Zee University was founded to fulfil the increasing demand for skilled human resources in a variety of social, educational, scientific, technological, and professional institutions, with the goal of channeling human energy for long-term economic and social development. Shri Subhash Chandra, Chairman, Essel Group of Industries and Zee Telefilms, brought together a group of committed anthropologists, sociologists, economists, and development communications professionals to establish TALEEM Research Foundation in Ahmedabad in 1995 in order to make a positive difference in education and employment. The Himgiri Zee University was one of the missions of the Taleem Research Foundation.

Himgiri Zee University was founded on the slogan "Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam" (World as Family) for the vocationalization of higher education that is both national and global in scope. The University prides itself on its commitment to not discriminate on the basis of caste, creed, domicile, community, gender, or religion. HZU was created in 2003 by the State Legislative Assembly of Uttaranchal (Act 2003, Uttaranchal Adhiniyam Sankhya 17 of 2003), and it has been active since then.