The concept for Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) was developed in 1937 and the first high school chapter was chartered in Tennessee in 1942. In 1958, the first collegiate chapter of Phi Beta Lambda (PBL) was chartered in Iowa. The Professional Division, originally the Alumni Division, began in 1979 and the FBLA-Middle Level division was started in 1994 for students in grades 5-9.
History of FBLA-PBL
The FBLA concept was developed in 1937 by Dr. Hamden L. Forkner of Columbia University. The first high school chapter was chartered in Johnson City, Tennessee on February 3, 1942. In 1958, the first PBL collegiate chapter was chartered in Iowa. The Professional Division, originally the Alumni Division, began in 1979. Joining FBLA-PBL in 1994 was the FBLA-Middle Level for students in grades 5-9.
1937—Hamden L. Forkner is the founder of FBLA. Professor Forkner developed the concept while at the Teachers College, Columbia University in New York City, and envisioned a national organization that would unite the thousands of business clubs in the nation’s high schools and colleges.
1940—The National Council for Business Education (now known as the National Business Education Association) sponsors the proposed student organization. Committees are appointed to formulate the organization’s general plans. The name “Future Business Leaders of America” is selected for the organization.
1942—An experimental chapter is chartered at Science Hill High School in Johnson City, Tennessee, on February 3. A second chapter is started two days later in St. Albans, West Virginia. The first collegiate chapter is chartered at the University of Northern Iowa on February 10. By the end of the year, 39 chapters are added. Over the next three and one-half years, another 38 chapters join.
1947—Iowa becomes the first FBLA state chapter. Indiana and Ohio quickly follow. Within the next three years, FBLA state chapters total ten.
June 15, 1948—Ohio FBLA granted state charter (third state charter after Iowa and Indiana).
1948—Bill Feth appointed Ohio FBLA-PBL Executive Director.
1958—The postsecondary division, Phi Beta Lambda (PBL), is created.
1971—Darlene Allen appointed Executive Director.
1979—The board of directors approves establishment of the FBLA-PBL Alumni Division.
1981—The Conrad N. Hilton Foundation purchases 1.6 acres of land in the Center for Educational Associations, Reston, Virginia, as the site for a future FBLA-PBL National Center.
1987—FBLA annual membership tops 200,000 for the first time.
1989—The Alumni Division is renamed as the Professional Division to include alumni and professional businesspersons.
1994—The FBLA–Middle Level division is formed for students in grades 5–9.
2008—Kimberly Beavers appointed Ohio FBLA-PBL Executive Director.
2019—Eric McGarvey appointed Ohio FBLA-PBL Executive Director.