JMU professor had key role in founding National Black MBA Association

JMU News

HARRISONBURG, Va. — Since the National Black MBA Association held its first conference in April 1970, the organization has played a major role in supporting minority graduate business students throughout the nation.

Alexander Gabbin, a director and professor of accounting at James Madison University, was one of the founding members of the NBMBAA and served as the treasurer for the 1970 conference, one of many accomplishments in his distinguished career.

“Through its chapters and national conference, the NBMBAA’s leadership has created important opportunities in education and wealth building for many deserving individuals who have been historically underrepresented,” Gabbin said. “It has a rich and enviable tradition of enriching the lives of Black youth and professionals.”

The organization was formed at a tumultuous time in race relations, especially in downtown Chicago, where Gabbin entered The University of Chicago’s Graduate School of Business in 1968. The goals of the NBMBAA were to investigate the present positions and problems of Black MBA candidates; to explore the aspirations and future role of Black MBAs; and to investigate the feasibility of establishing a national professional association for Black MBAs.

The organization’s first conference, held on April 4-5, 1970, featured faculty from 29 graduate business schools, corporate executives, VIPs, University of Chicago MBA alumni and current MBA students, and 58 visiting MBA student delegates. In 1972, after a follow-up regional meeting in 1971 of nine MBA student delegates from the 1970 conference, the National Black MBA Association was incorporated in New York.

Gabbin said an effective organization like the NBMBAA was needed as an advocate dedicated to promoting the aspirations of Black MBAs and providing tools that would help them overcome barriers to graduate business programs, corporate America, personal business ventures and initiatives designed to improve the communities and lives of young people who have been disadvantaged by a legacy of discrimination.

Key accomplishments of the organization include creating the annual conference and exposition in 1979, launching the Leaders of Tomorrow scholarship program in 1992 and sponsoring the National Business Case Competition.


Contact: Eric Gorton, 

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Published: Thursday, February 15, 2024

Last Updated: Wednesday, March 13, 2024

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