Thunderbird School to open new state-of-the-art global headquarters during 75th anniversary celebration

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After two and a half years since its groundbreaking ceremony — and construction throughout a pandemic — the new home of Thunderbird School of Global Management at Arizona State University is ready to open its doors.

Celebrating and honoring Thunderbird’s historic past, the new global headquarters will embrace the future, redefining how a global management school should operate.

“We set out to create a transformative headquarters that honored our 75 years of Thunderbird traditions and, at the same time, would be a beacon for global leaders and citizens from here in Phoenix, to Arizona, to the United States, and to all countries and regions across the world,” said Sanjeev Khagram, director general and dean of the Thunderbird School of Global Management.

Over 2,500 alumni, students, faculty, staff, community members and regional partners from across the globe are expected to attend Thunderbird’s grand opening and 75th anniversary global reunion taking place April 4–10. The new building is on ASU’s Downtown Phoenix campus (401 N. First St., Phoenix, AZ 85004), adjacent to buildings housing the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, Watts College of Public Service and Community Solutions, Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, Edson College of Nursing and Health Innovation, and the College of Health Solutions.

The proximity of the new building to other ASU colleges provides Thunderbird students with immediate access to cross-disciplinary programs to broaden their research and facilitate a multidisciplinary experience for their graduate education. Over half of the current students are international, coming from countries all over the world.

'Most technologically advanced' school in the world

Thunderbird School of Global Management at Arizona State University

Spanning 110,000 square feet — spread over five floors — the new global headquarters building for Thunderbird School of Global Management features state-of-the-art technology and celebrates cultures and regions from all across the world.

Moore Ruble Yudell and Jones Studio, the architects of the nearly $70 million new global headquarters for Thunderbird, labeled the structure the "most technologically advanced building of any leadership, management or business school in the world.”

Once inside it is easy to understand why. Students can learn a new language in its immersive virtual reality language lab, visualize and interpret data using artificial intelligence, and connect with the greater global community using the latest in immersive and virtual communications found throughout the building.

“Thunderbird’s new most technologically advanced global headquarters is a physical manifestation of our vision to be the most global and digital leadership and management school in the world,” Khagram said.

Spanning 110,000 square feet — spread over five floors — the building features state-of-the-art flexible classrooms, 1,600 square feet of displays, regional heritage lounges featuring art donated from alumni representing a variety of artifacts from Africa, Asia, Latin America and Europe, and so much more. The Thunderbird Pub, on the fifth floor with rooftop views of the Phoenix skyline, is a feature many alumni are looking forward to enjoying during the reunion week. The interior design elements of the pub capture the true spirit of Thunderbird’s original campus in Glendale, Arizona, with a look toward the future and the next 75 years of Thunderbird and beyond.

“Nowhere in the world is there both the No. 1 ranked school for global management, Thunderbird, and the nation’s No 1. most innovative university, ASU,” Khagram said. “We are celebrating not only the last four years when we advanced the most remarkable turnaround in higher education history, but the promise of global inclusion, innovation and impact we will achieve in the years ahead.” 

Celebration for all

Members of the community are invited to partake in the 75th anniversary celebration and global reunion festivities from April 4–10. Throughout the week, master classes will take place featuring many of the faculty and course instructors for Thunderbird’s Executive Education program. Topics cover everything from cryptocurrencies to space leadership to developing a digital mindset and more. Interactive dialogues on various real-world topics from different regions will also occur each day. Presenters are dignitaries and business leaders from public, private and government sectors from all over the world.

Thunderbird’s golfing event, the T-bird 75 Golf Classic, takes place on Thursday, April 7, from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. at Raven Golf Club. Community members are invited to support student scholarships while having fun with T-birds at one of Phoenix’s premier golf courses. The T-bird 75 Golf Classic will begin with a lunch at 11 a.m., then a shotgun start at noon. Options to purchase single tickets or a foursome are available here.

The event “One Global Gala: Campaign for Thunderbird’s Next 75 Years” on Saturday, April 9, has been sold out for some time as alumni and donors await a fun and festive evening at The Van Buren in downtown Phoenix. This event is a celebration to raise funds for student scholarships and to help equip students with the knowledge and tools necessary to solve the world's most pressing challenges.

The week also features regional celebrations taking place nightly from 6 to 8 p.m. Attendees are encouraged to partake in the regional cuisine (for purchase), music and art. Nearly nine hours of entertainment will take place over the span of four evenings with over 40 individual acts. Performances include fashion shows, dance troops, musical interludes featuring songs from "Encanto," poetry, African beat dances, a Swedish music showcase, Bollywood dancing, a Chinese opera singer and a Taiko drummer, among many others.

Friday, April 8, is the official grand opening ceremony from 6:30–7:30 p.m. outside on Thunderbird’s plaza and surrounding downtown streets (Polk Street between First and Second streets). The ceremony will feature remarks from ASU President Michael Crow, Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego, Arizona Board of Regents Treasurer and former President of Thunderbird Larry Penley and Director General and Dean of Thunderbird Sanjeev Khagram. Representatives from the international and local Thunderbird community, including the Thunderbird Global Alumni Network, will also be speaking. The program will also recognize the official naming of the building with fireworks and other highly visual displays to celebrate the opening. Tours of the building will be offered during this time.

The Global Night Celebration will take place immediately following the ribbon cutting event from 7:30–10 p.m. and will feature music, art, food and fun from around the world, celebrating the school’s global legacy and intergalactic future.

“Our new headquarters is a place for our students, faculty, staff, friends and alumni — from a variety of cultures, backgrounds and experiences — to come together to create the new enterprises of the future, to envision bringing the world together and advancing sustainable prosperity and peace,” Khagram said. “We are grateful for our champions who have helped reinvent and transform Thunderbird to be what it is today and look forward to celebrating this next era in our history — towards the Thunderbird Academy of Intergalactic Leadership.”

Learn more about the Thunderbird School for Global Managment at ASU and find complete details for the grand opening and 75th anniversary global reunion here. Learn more about supporting student scholarships here.

Nicole Almond Anderson
nalmond@asu.edu