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ASU, Thunderbird School of Global Management finalize agreement

December 19, 2014

Arizona State University and the Thunderbird School of Global Management have signed a final agreement to make the Thunderbird School of Global Management part of the ASU knowledge enterprise, combining the strength of an international business-education powerhouse with the resources of an innovative public research university.

“The integration of Thunderbird with ASU will benefit both institutions,” said ASU President Michael M. Crow. “This will create new opportunities for our students, and it will provide a platform for showcasing ASU’s strengths to a new set of partners around the world. Thunderbird students will have access to a much broader range of courses, as well as the advantages that come with being part of a major research university.”

Crow named Allen Morrison, a scholar of global management who until recently held the Kristian Gerhard Jebsen Chair for Responsible Leadership in the Maritime Industry at the the International Institute for Management Development (IMD), to become chief executive officer and director general of the new Thunderbird.

“Today’s announcement means that former, current and future Thunderbird students can look to the future with confidence knowing they have the benefit of a unique global partnership,” said Morrison. “Thunderbird is stronger as a part of ASU, and ASU is stronger for having Thunderbird as a part of the institution.”

Ann Iverson, chair of the Thunderbird board, hailed the arrangement as a step that will enhance the school’s global reputation.

“Thunderbirds are rightfully proud of what the school means to their lives and what the brand means in the business world,” said Iverson. “The spirit of innovation that thrives at Arizona State University makes it the ideal partner to lead Thunderbird through the next stage of its evolution. With today’s announcement, our work continues, our ranks will expand and our reputation for excellence will grow even stronger.”

A tentative agreement between the two institutions reached in July was followed by months of discussion around financial and operational details. The final agreement announced today reflects the resolution of those discussions between the parties, as well as the approval of the Arizona Board of Regents and the Higher Learning Commission, the principal accrediting body for both schools. The deal is expected to close by Dec. 31, when final arrangements are expected to be complete with the U.S. Department of Education and Thunderbird’s creditors.

“This is great for Thunderbird and for ASU,” said Larry Penley, the outgoing president of Thunderbird. “I am very pleased that Thunderbird will have a sustainable future in which to grow and thrive with ASU, which has a commitment to excellence and global prominence for Arizona.”

Degree programs offered by the Thunderbird School of Global Management at ASU will initially include a Master of Global Management, a one-year, three-semester degree program and a Master of Art in Global Affairs and Management, a two-year degree. In addition, Graduate Certificates requiring the completion of five courses will be offered in Global Management, Global Affairs and Global Development. The new Thunderbird will also emphasize opportunities in executive education.

Thunderbird, located at 59th Avenue and Greenway, not far from ASU’s West campus, was founded in 1946, and for decades has enjoyed a reputation for excellence and leadership in global management and business education. Major publications around the world have consistently named Thunderbird as a leader in global business education. 

ASU is a comprehensive public research university that measures success not by whom it excludes, but by whom it includes and how they succeed. The largest public university in the nation, ASU is dedicated to advancing research and discovery of public value, and assuming fundamental responsibility for the economic and social well-being of the communities that it serves. It is also engaged globally, with research and development projects underway in Europe, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East. ASU recently ranked eighth in the nation for its international student enrollment, with students from more than 150 countries.

Gary Campbell

Media Relations and Marketing Manager , Fulton Schools of Engineering