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The History of FBLA-PBL

1937 - Hamden L. Forkner of Teachers College, Columbia University in New York City, proposes to business teachers across the country that a national organization is needed for the thousands of business clubs in the nation's high schools and colleges.

1940 - The National Council for Business Education 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 in Johnson City, Tennessee, on February 3.

By the end of the year, 39 chapters are added; and another 38 chapters join over the

next four years.


1946 - The national center for FBLA is established at the National Education Association

Center in Washington, D.C.


1947 - Iowa becomes the first FBLA state chapter.


1958 - The postsecondary division, Phi Beta Lambda is created. The University of Northern Iowa is the first PBL chapter.


1973 - FBLA-PBL, Inc. appoints Edward D. Miller as the association’s first full-time executive director.


1979 - The Board of Directors approves establishment of the FBLA-PBL Alumni Division. Phil Goldfeder starts the Penn State chapter of Phi Beta Lambda, which was the second official business fraternity on campus.


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.


1991 - The grand opening of the FBLA-PBL National Center is held.


1994 - The FBLA–Middle Level division is formed for students in grades 5–9.


1997 - Edward D. Miller retires as president and chief executive officer of the national association. Jean Buckley is appointed president and chief executive officer.


2006 - Matthew Hawkins reactivates Mu Alpha Rho Chapter of Phi Beta Lambda of Penn State

2016 - FBLA-PBL celebrates 75 years.

2021 - PBL becomes a top 5 general organization fundraiser for PennState maraTHON.



Under the Penn State Smeal College of Business, Penn State PBL has become a premier organization that offers professional networking and career preparation opportunities. PBL offers all majors at Penn State the opportunity to advance their business and professional education beyond the classroom.

Through our four pillars of professionalism, philanthropy, social, and competition we impart on our members the necessary skillset required for all working professionals both in their careers and in their everyday lives. We strive as an organization to let our knowledge and ethics shine through in everything we do.

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