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JMU professor played pivotal role in development of Black MBA association

Crystal Graham
Alex Gabbin
Photo by Mike Miriello, JMU

A professor in the School of Accounting at James Madison University played an important role in the formation of a national association for Black MBA students.

Alexander Gabbin served as treasurer for the National Black MBA Association for its first conference in April 1970 and was one of the founding members of the organization created to support minority graduate business students.

The goals of the conference 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 conference featured faculty from 29 graduate business schools, corporate executives, University of Chicago MBA alumni and current MBA students.

Two years after the conference, the National Black MBA Association was incorporated in New York.

Gabbin said an effective organization like the NBMBAA was needed to promote the aspirations of Black MBAs. The goal was to provide Black MBA students tools that would help them overcome barriers to graduate business programs and corporate America.

The organization reports it has 40 local chapters with more than 11,000 members today.

“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,” said Gabbin. “It has a rich and enviable tradition of enriching the lives of Black youth and professionals.”

Crystal Graham

Crystal Graham

Crystal Abbe Graham is the regional editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1999 graduate of Virginia Tech, she has worked for nearly 25 years as a reporter and editor for several Virginia publications, written a book, and garnered more than a dozen Virginia Press Association awards for writing and graphic design. She was the co-host of "Viewpoints," a weekly TV news show, and co-host of Virginia Tonight, a nightly TV news show. Her work on "Virginia Tonight" earned her a national Telly award for excellence in television.