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Karnataka Lingayat Education Society (KLE Society) was founded in 1916 by seven educated youth with the objective of bringing education to the Kannada-speaking region of the erstwhile Bombay Presidency and what is today the North Karnataka region. Headquartered at Belagavi, KLE Society runs over 250 educational institutions in Karnataka and Maharashtra. On 13 November 1916, KLE Society started an Anglo Vernacular School in Belagavi. Lingaraj College came into existence in June 1933. In 1947, B.V. Bhoomaraddi College of Engineering and Technology was started in Hubli. Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College at Belagavi and Gudleppa Hallikeri College at Haveri were started in 1963. KLE also runs the KLE engineering college in Belagavi, established in 1979. From 1984 onwards, KLE Society started dental, education, nursing, information technology, computer applications, hotel management, business management, tourism, fashion design, and agriculture colleges, as well as polytechnics across India. Its health care institutions include the super-specialty KLE Society's Prabhakar Kore Hospital and Medical Research Centre at Belagavi. Today under the leadership of Prabhakar Kore, the KLE Society runs 256 institutions.
In 1947, the government of Bombay Province made attempts to establish a university in Bombay Karnataka. As per the resolution No. 7914 of Education and Industries Department, the government of Bombay, a committee was constituted on 17 April 1947 to make recommendations regarding form, scope, constitution and jurisdiction of a university for Karnataka. (which meant Bombay Karnataka because Bombay Karnataka was a southern part of Bombay Province). The Karnataka University came into existence in 1949.
The founder life members of the KLE Society are: