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In 1973, several Indiana business leaders and Wabash academics envisioned a summer program similar to Boys and Girls State that focused on introducing high school students to the world of business.

Founding members of OLAB included:

Benjamin Rogge, Wabash Economics professor and Dean of the College

Bill Bonifield, Wabash Economics professor and later VP of Lilly Endowment

David Hadley, Wabash Political Science professor

Joseph O'Rourke, Wabash Speech professor

Alex Carroll, Jack Engledow, and Bob Hall, Indianapolis business leaders

The Greater Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce.

Since 1973, over 3,000 students from Indiana, almost every state in the US, and at least eight foreign countries have participated in the program. The head start on business leadership and career skills offered by OLAB is evident in the success of past participants.

Notable alumni careers include:

- a senior executive at AT&T Corporation

- a brand manager for Proctor & Gamble, Inc.

- a brand manager for the Quaker Company

- a senior graphic designer for the GAP Company

- an international executive of Arvin Industries

- a senior VP of Rutter Communications

- an executive director of the NCAA Project 2000

- the Integrated Marketing Manager for Wired

- a television news anchor

- the chief of staff for of the City of Indianapolis

- an NCAA FBS Division I football coach

- a special agent in the Federal Bureau of Investigations

- a State Department envoy to the Middle East