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Raised to be T-birds: Legacy Scholars flock to campus

As a proud Thunderbird alumnus, Clip Flenniken ’76 had a major role in his daughter’s decision to attend the same school for her MBA. But the influence came by example more than coercion. “He never told me I should go to Thunderbird and never pushed me into making that decision,” Shelley Flenniken ’15 said. “What he and my mother did was raise me to be a Thunderbird, so when the time came to go back to school for an MBA, Thunderbird was a natural fit.”

Shelley Flenniken will be joined by 23 other T-bird children or siblings when Foundations begins on Aug. 14, 2013. As immediate family members of alumni, each will qualify for the $10,000 Legacy Scholarship, a recruiting tool launched in 2012 that continues to grow. “I chose Thunderbird because I was looking for education in the form of experience — and a truly global experience at that — not just a classroom,” Shelley Flenniken said. “I have experience in both marketing and government affairs, and I wanted to find somewhere that could really help me apply this experience to a truly global career. For that purpose, no other school compared.”

She started her global experience immediately by enrolling in the Summer Language Abroad course taught by Thunderbird Professor Carmen Carney, Ph.D., in Buenos Aires, Argentina. During her six weeks of Spanish immersion, Shelley Flenniken bonded with 12 classmates and traveled to Ushuaia, Argentina, to see the world’s southernmost city. “Shelley has a great head on her shoulders, and Thunderbird will give her a great opportunity to put that to use,” said her dad, who leveraged his Thunderbird degree to boost a banking career in Connecticut and Maryland.

Clip Flenniken said he and his wife raised their daughter with global awareness, teaching her to consider multiple perspectives and multiple ways of doing things. “As long as it works, it’s good,” he said. “That’s what it means to be a Thunderbird.”

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