Rajarshi Chhatrapati Shahu Maharaj, the first president of the DES society.

Deccan Education Society, Pune was established in 1884 by four patriotic visionaries- Vishnu Shastri Chiplunkar, Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Gopal Ganesh Agarkar and Mahadeo Ballal Namjoshi-who were already recognized as the pioneers of new education in India with the launch of New English School in Pune in the year 1880. This was a revolutionary step, because in those days Government Institutions and Christian Missionaries were the only agencies involved in educating masses. Private enterprise in education was often discouraged. It was also pointed out by these Nationalists that there was no education available to generate leadership, for industrial regeneration of India, or for defense of the motherland i.e. education required by the people of a self - governing nation. It was the idea of filling these voids that the DES came in to existence. In the view of its founders, Education was the means of rousing-the intellect, the drooping will and the slumbering conscience of their fallen countrymen. They began with a modest aim of facilitating education at low costs by starting schools and colleges.

In the year 1885, the renowned Fergusson College was started. In the year1919, DES established Willingdon College in the southern region of Maharashtra at Sangli on a 125 acre campus. Recognizing the need for commerce education, the society started Brihan Maharashtra College of commerce, Pune in 1943, followed by Chintamanarao College of Commerce, Sangli in 1960. In the year 1954, Kirti M. Doongursee College was established in Mumbai. The Society entered in the field of technical education too, with the launching of Technical Institute in Pune (1937). DES started management institute viz. IMDR in 1974 at Pune and IMR at Sangli in 1996, the year 2003 witnessed addition of DES Law College and in the year 2007 DES started Physiotherapy & Nursing College. DES also runs an autonomous institute in the field of Vocational Training at Pune. With a view to imparting basic education, the Society has started many schools at various places in the state. Agriculture, which is the backbone of Indian economy, needs scientific education for agro-industries, their management and marketing in today’s globalized world, with this view in mind the DES has started RCSM College of ABM at Sangli in the year, 2009.

The primary aim of the DES has always been to offer education at affordable cost and spread enlightenment by self-reliant efforts with a view to realizing the highest aspirations and ideals of the people for better future of the country. The DES management is trying to expand its educational activities as per the requirements of the society in general, guided and aided by educationists, visionaries, philanthropists and ex-students, in order to pursue its goal 'Knowledge is Power' and this college is an example of this policy.