Theodore Vail, president of American Telephone & Telegraph, Horace Moses, president of Strathmore Paper Co., and Senator Murray Crane of Massachusetts founded Junior Achievement in 1919. Its first program, The Company Program, was offered to high school students on an after-school basis. In 1975, the organization entered the classroom with the introduction of Project Business for the middle grades. In the last 24 years, Junior Achievement gradually expanded its activities and broadened its scope to encompass an ever-widening student population.
Locally, business leaders established Junior Achievement of Middle Tennessee in 1957. A few of the Middle Tennessee founders were James V. Blevins, William Earthman, Sam M. Fleming, T. Scott Fillebrown, Oscar B. Hofstetter, Jr., J. E. Moss, Hugh Stallworth, John Tipton, and Albert Werthan.
Some distinguished alumni of Junior Achievement are: U. S. Congressman Bob Clement (D-Tenn.); Frederick A. Deluca, Founder & CEO, Subway; Arte Johnson, actor and Junior Achievement National Board Member; Dan Rather, Anchor and Managing Editor, CBS Evening News; Dr. Donna Shalala, U.S. Secretary of Health & Human Services, David E. Hall, former President of TNN and National Board Member, and former Chairman of the Board.