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Austin, Wanda M, 2012.png

Wanda M. Austin

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...

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William F. Austin

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...

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Gene Autry*

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...

James W. Ayers

James W. Ayers

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...

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Roger W. Babson*

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 ...

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Frank Bailey*

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...

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William E. Bailey*

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...

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Michael Baker, Jr.*

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...

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Charles C. Bales*

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 ...

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John Andrew Barr*

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...

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