The United States Junior Chamber of Commerce began in 1920 to help young businessmen. In 1965, the name was changed to the United States Jaycees and the organization expanded to include individual development and community service. In the early 1980s, membership became available to women.
On January 16, 1971, Elvis received the Jaycees award for being designated One of the Ten Outstanding Young Men of the Nation for 1970. It was an honor that Elvis cherished.
The award was started in 1938 by publisher and former Jaycee President, Durward Howes, who would choose and publish a list of America's outstanding Young Men each year. In 1942 the honorees began to be chosen by a panel of
judges. In the 1980s, women became eligible and the award’s name changed to honor ten outstanding young "Americans" each year rather than only men.
The finalist judges for 1970 were: Alexander Heard, Chancellor – Vanderbilt University; Odell Horton, President - LeMoyne Owen College; Lyndon Baines Johnson - former President of the United States; Dr. Robert D. McCullough, International President - Lions International; Abe Plough, President - Plough, Inc.; and Kemmons Wilson, CEO – Holiday Inns, Inc.
Here are just a few names of other honorees over the years: Arthur Ashe, Ann E. Bancroft, Birch Bayh, Leonard Bernstein, Pat Boone, David Boren, Susan H. Butcher, Joseph A. Califano, Richard Cheney, Frank G. Clement, Lt. Col. Rhonda Cornum, Thomas Daschle, J. Howard Edmondson, Billie Sol Estes, Gerald R. Ford, Henry Ford II, Abe Fortas, Dr. George Gallup, Steven Garvey, Albert Gore Jr., Virgil Grissom, Henry Heinz, Howard Hughes, Jesse Jackson, Bruce Jenner, Rafer Johnson, Edward Kennedy, John F. Kennedy, Robert F. Kennedy, Ted Kennnedy Jr., Dr. Henry Kissinger, Blanche L. Lincoln, George Cabot Lodge, Joe Louis, Archie Manning, Peyton Manning, Judge Melba D. Marsh, Bill D. Moyers, Ralph Nader, Richard Nixon, James Osmond, Merrill Osmond, Dan Quayle, Kaye Lani Rae Rafko-Wilson, Christopher Reeve, John D. Rockefeller, IV, Nelson A. Rockefeller, Theodore Roosevelt, Kyle Rote Jr., William Saroyan, Gale Sayers, Dr. Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., George Stephanopoulos, Brandon Tartikoff, Rudy Vallee, Orson Welles, C.B. "Bud" Wilkinson, Charles E. Yeager, Trischa Leanna Zorn.