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History of North Carolina Phii Beta Lambda

History of NCPBL


In the spring of 1954, Dr. James L. White and several farsighted business educators established the North Carolina Chapter of FBLA-PBL, Inc.  Twenty high school and college chapters were pioneers in Dr. White's dream of establishing Future Business Leaders of America-Phi Beta Lambda (FBLA-PBL) in every business education program in the state.  In 1969 the state chapter was divided into separate divisions.

The Phi Beta Lambda state membership for the 2011-12 year was 700 in 34 local chapters located across the state.  The statistical data illustrating North Carolina Phi Beta Lambda's membership record for the past years is located in the NCPBL State Handbook, Appendix 1.

The North Carolina State Chapter of Phi Beta Lambda (NCPBL) has been fortunate to attract dedicated leadership from its local chapter advisers to serve as State Advisers.  Historically they include:  Ms. Joyce Cherry, Lenoir Community College, 1969-1971; Mr. Albert Gaskill, Campbell University, 1971-1974; Ms. Geraldine Michael Smith, Wingate University, 1974-1979; and Mr. Terry C. Lowrance, Durham Technical Community College, and Dr. Robert N. Simmons, Lenoir-Rhyne College, as State Co-Advisers for the period 1979-1993.  From 1994-2003, Mr. Lowrance served as State Adviser.  From 2003-2006, Mr. Ron Eggers, Barton College, served as State Adviser.  Mr. Dan Hazlett, Stanly Community College, was named State Adviser in 2006.  Ms. Carol Short, North Carolina Department of Public instruction, serves as the current FBLA-PBL State Chair.

In addition to state chapter continuity and leadership provided by the role of the state adviser, North Carolina has also been fortunate to have directors who provide task specialization as members of the State Committee.



  • 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 (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 (FBLA)" is selected for the organization.

  • 1942--An experimental chapter is chartered in Johnson City, Tennessee, on February 3. A second chapter is started two days later in St. Albans, West Virginia. By the end of the year, 39 chapters are added; and over the next three and one-half years, another 38 chapters join.

  • 1946--The United Business Education Association assumes sponsorship of FBLA. Headquarters offi ce for FBLA is established at the National Education Association Center in Washington, D.C.

  • 1947--Iowa becomes the first FBLA state chapter. Indiana and Ohio quickly follows. Within the next three years, FBLA state chapters total ten.

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

  • 1969--FBLA-PBL is granted independent status as a nonprofit educational student association under Internal Revenue Code 501 (c) (3). FBLA-PBL, Inc. acquires its own board of directors and full-time staff.

  • 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 FBLAPBL 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 Professional Division is formed to include alumni and professional businesspersons.

  • 1990--The groundbreaking ceremony is held for the FBLA-PBL National Center.

  • 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 presidentand chief executive officer.

  • 2001--National center mortgage is retired.


NCPBL Current President Meets First NCPBL President

July 2014

     Chuck VanHoose,  North Carolina Phi Beta Lambda president, recently had the unique opportunity of meeting his predecessor of 60 years ago.

     Ms. Bobbie Lou Avant Brown was a student at East Carolina University when she was selected as president for the 1954 organizational year of North Carolina Future Business Leaders of America, with membership open to secondary and college students.

         After being graduated, Ms. Brown taught business at the college level a number of years before taking a position with a national health organization, where she traveled the country leading customer service training programs.  After retirement, she became an entrepreneur in the adult care insurance business.

     “Ms. Brown is a fascinating lady,” VanHoose commented, “and getting to meet her and spend an evening with her will be a highlight of my year as state PBL president.”

      Ms. Brown, who just celebrated her 80th birthday, is a volunteer receptionist two afternoons with her church, where she sings in the sanctuary choir and organizes a hospital visitation program.

     “We were amazed as she talked about her career, the early days of PBL, and her philosophy of life,” remarked  State Adviser Dan Hazlett, who spent several weeks searching for information about Ms. Brown and then accompanied VanHoose to Greensboro for the dinner meeting.

     A 1954 NC FBLA newsletter includes an article on Ms. Brown’s trip to that year’s national conference in Dallas.  She was the only North Carolina delegate and traveled 40 hours alone on a train to participate.

     Copies of  that article and a “best wishes” letter from her were distributed at the NC state meeting in Nashville as a conclusion for the state’s 60th Anniversary celebration.

     “Although she had lost contact with the organization, she was eager to hear about its growth and success over the years,” VanHoose says.  “She had a keen sense of humor.  She told me she didn’t get a name badge as nice as mine when she was president!  Meeting and having dinner with her was very rewarding.  She told me I didn’t have to be at the gym at 5:00 a.m. as she is, but that her advice to PBL members is to use time wisely and meet as many positive people as possible so we can learn from them.”