FBLA in Oregon began in 1942 through the vision and dream of Dr. Hamden L. Forkner.
Dr. Forkner was a professor at Columbia University’s Teachers College and was also a successful author, entrepreneur, and inventor of the Forkner Method of shorthand/speed writing. Dr. Forkner had a passion for teaching students about the American Enterprise System and believed that business could be learned at any age—and the earlier it was learned the better for America. Dr. Forkner led a force of educators and business leaders to modernize what had formerly been local “commercial clubs” or “business clubs” operating independently on campuses around the country. Dr. Forkner believed that a national program of business and education working together to bring students innovative leadership and career development programs under a unified system would provide greater support and success for students and schools. And, he looked to Oregon as a founding state to help pioneer his vision.
Dr. Forkner collaborated with fellow professors and leaders at Oregon State University to develop a statewide structure and system for building FBLA programs across the Oregon. OSU led the way developing an initial structure and helping the first local chapter in Oregon get founded at Woodburn High School in 1942. After seven years of hard work, National FBLA-PBL Executive Director Dr. Holis Guy awarded the Oregon Department of Education the Oregon FBLA-PBL State Charter on June 15, 1949. Oregon FBLA became the sixth state in the nation to gain a state charter.
In more than 65 years of continuous service to Oregon, FBLA has positively impacted over 100,000 alumni members, produced over 400 state officers, 30 national officers, three Adviser Wall of Fame members, and added dynamic entrepreneurs, employees, inventors, community and civic leaders to Oregon’s work force.
Historical Trivia: Oregon FBLA has had more state officer teams than National FBLA has had national officer teams. Oregon FBLA was founded in 1949, three years before National FBLA held its first National Leadership Conference in Chicago in 1952 and elected its first National Officers.