2012 Horatio Alger Award Winner
President and CEO, retired
The Aerospace Corporation
Wanda Austin, the middle of three daughters, was born in the Bronx in 1954. Her family lived above a barber shop, where her father cut hair 12 to 14 hours a day, six days a week. “My father never finished high school,” says...
2008 Horatio Alger Award Winner
Chief Executive Officer
Starkey Hearing Foundation
William F. “Bill” Austin was born in February 1942 to J. E. “Dutch” and Zola Austin of Nixa, Missouri. His father worked as a lumber trader for Georgia-Pacific, and his mother worked in a factory. To supplement the fami...
1964 Horatio Alger Award Winner
Actor, Producer & Businessman
Gene Autry, “America’s #1 Singing Cowboy,” was born in Tioga, Texas, in 1907. His preacher grandfather taught him to sing in the church choir at age five. Later, he arose before dawn to do chores before walking miles to s...
2019 Horatio Alger Award Winner
Executive Chairman of the Board
James “Jim” Ayers was born in 1943 in a small town in western Tennessee called Parsons. His mother was married and pregnant when her first husband died suddenly. A single mother, she worked as a bank teller to support herse...
1955 Horatio Alger Award Winner
Babson's Statistical Service
The son of a dry goods store owner, Roger Babson was born in 1875 in Gloucester, Massachusetts. He studied engineering the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. After graduating in 1898, Babson worked for a time as an ...
1951 Horatio Alger Award Winner
Title Guarantee & Trust Company
Born in 1865 in Chatham, New York, Frank Bailey graduated from Union College in Schenectady, New York, and served as the college treasurer for 51 years. He began his professional career as a clerk at Title Guarantee and Trust C...
1972 Horatio Alger Award Winner
Bestline Products, Inc.
William E. Bailey, one of 11 children, was born and raised in the hills of Kentucky. His father, a farmer, could barely read or write. Their home had no electricity until Bailey’s teen years, and they never had indoor plumbin...
1954 Horatio Alger Award Winner
Michael Baker Corporation
Born in 1912 in Beaver, Pennsylvania, Michael Baker was one of 12 children in his family. He did odd jobs after school to earn spending money. Following in his father’s footsteps, he became an engineer. After his fres...
1957 Horatio Alger Award Winner
C.C. Bales Agency
Charles C. Bales was born and raised in the mountain community of Pennington Gap, Virginia. When he was 12, he began working for the local general store after school. Later on, he drove a horse and wagon to deliver supplies to ...
1961 Horatio Alger Award Winner
Chairman of the Board
Montgomery Ward & Co.
John A. Barr was born on a farm near Akron, Indiana. He attended a one-room school and performed the usual duties required of farm boys. He worked his way through DePauw University as a part-time waiter. Two years later...