During the era that secondary and postsecondary chapters were all part of one national association, Future Business Leaders of America, the first college division chapter in Illinois was chartered in 1964 at Centralia Junior College, now Kaskaskia College.
During the subsequent twenty years, nine more chapters were chartered at various colleges throughout the State of Illinois. In 1964, the ten postsecondary chapters decided to join the ranks of the national association’s separate division, Phi Beta Lambda, and from that point Illinois PBL had its own state officers and advisers. Marvin Meier of Centralia Junior College was elected the first PBL State President and Robert Sanders was appointed as PBL State Adviser the same year.
During the spring of 1965, the first PBL State Leadership Conference was conducted at the Leland Hotel in Springfield. Each year since then, the PBL members from around the state have gathered in the spring to climax the year with the State Leadership Conference.
Since the start of Phi Beta Lambda as an independent organization in 1964, over 60 colleges have received charters from the National Office with 10 being active during the most recent membership year. All time membership records were set in the late 1970s with over 900 members; current year statistics listed 303 national members.
Wilma Bricker was the longest serving FBLA-PBL State Chairman since beginning her duties and retiring in 2000 with Darlene Shannon succeeding her. Phi Beta Lambda State Advisers since 1964 have been:
1964-1971 Robert Sanders
At the National Level, Illinois dignitaries have served on the National Board of Directors and as National Officers of the Association.
Past National Board Members are Wilma Bricker (three years), Jesse Dudley (one year), J. Vincent Morgan (five years), Martin Schallenberger (three years), James D. Price (six years, one year as Chairman of the Board), and Tina Dierkes (four years, one as Chairman of the Board).
The third division of the association, Professional Division (originally Alumni Division), has had three Illinois members serve as National President: James D. Price (charter), Jesse Dudley, and Ginny Richerson.