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Crow, Morrison celebrate Thunderbird partnership

two men shaking hands
January 29, 2015

Arizona State University and the Thunderbird School of Global Management celebrated their new alliance Jan. 29 at a reception on the Glendale, Arizona, campus of Thunderbird.

ASU President Michael M. Crow and Allen J. Morrison, chief executive officer and director general of the Thunderbird School, spoke about how each school would enhance the other.

“Thunderbird’s partnership with ASU comes at just the right time in our growth and in our history,” said Morrison. “In addition to benefiting from ASU’s knowledge network, we move forward at Thunderbird unburdened by debt and with a license to grow, to spread our wings, to prosper.”

The reception marked the formal kickoff of the partnership between ASU and the Thunderbird School that was finalized in December 2014. The partnership aims to combine the strength of an international business-education powerhouse with the resources of an innovative public research university.

“What you can expect from us is to get at this right away, to stabilize those things that need to be stabilized immediately and, upon stabilization, to begin strategic positioning of this institution in its partnership with ASU, and strategic positioning of ASU in its partnership with Thunderbird,” said Crow.

Crow congratulated Thunderbird for its successes and promised to be a part of building an even more impactful future for the school.

“We are committed to the Thunderbird idea, the Thunderbird mystique, the Thunderbird model, the way for Thunderbird to move forward,” he said.

Ambassador Barbara Barrett, who at one time served as president of the Thunderbird School, called the partnership “a history-making combination,” comparing it to such historically successful pairings as Watson and Crick, who discovered the double helix structure of DNA; Gilbert and Sullivan, famous theatrical partners; and Lewis and Clark, who made history when together they mapped and explored the newly acquired western portion of the United States in 1804.

“Combinations, teams, collaborations have supercharged performance for eons. This combination bodes well for the future of ASU and for Thunderbird,” said Barrett. “The ASU-Thunderbird combination gives Thunderbirds the benefit of a remarkable leader in Michael Crow. With the size and strength of ASU on Thunderbird’s side, Thunderbird will become an even finer institution, building upon its incomparable legacy.”

In his speech, Morrison pointed to new technologies, degree programs, international expansion, company partnerships, broadening of the faculty and networking more meaningfully with alums as ways that the Thunderbird School will benefit from this partnership.

“This new beginning with ASU signals the start of an era of unparalleled growth and unparalleled opportunity for Thunderbird,” he said.

Morrison previously served as a senior adviser for global management education and executive education initiatives at ASU. His research has been published in a range of journals, including Harvard Business Review, Strategic Management Journal, Sloan Management Review, Journal of Management and the Journal of International Business Studies.

President of the Thunderbird School of Government and MBA student Sabah Hussain has been taking programming classes at ASU for the past three years. She expressed excitement at the two schools’ collaboration.

“The resources that we’re going to get at ASU are only going to bolster our opportunities,” Hussain said.

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