A rare Arizona rainstorm threatened to dampen Thunderbird’s Rugby Alumni Weekend on Feb. 28 and March 1, 2014, but the sun appeared minutes before kickoff for the annual game between the students and “Old Boys.” Thunderbird Alumni Rugby Association President Chuck Hamilton ’91 said neither side worried about the weather anyway. “Rain is not an issue,” he said. “It slows everybody down the same.”
Thunderbird’s close-knit community includes more than 170 alumni chapters that meet regularly in over 70 countries. Chapter Connections highlights the various ways T-birds stay in touch and help each other succeed around the world.
Hong Kong alumni celebrated the arrival of the “year of the horse” on Feb. 19, 2014, at the Happy Valley Racecourse, built in 1845 for British expatriates living on the island. “Hong Kong has a long tradition of horse racing,” Hong Kong alumni chapter leader and Thunderbird Trustee Kevin Rohrer ’82 says. Thunderbird Career Management Center staff members Helen Wu ’12 and Mike Kennard ’15 joined the gathering.
Thunderbird alumni in Amsterdam, Netherlands, welcomed a surprised tourist to their First Tuesday dinner in January 2014. One of the local T-birds took the tram to the restaurant near Amtel Station but realized after he boarded that he had forgotten the exact address. Looking around for help, he spotted another passenger wearing a Thunderbird shirt and asked for directions. Unfortunately, the man wearing the shirt was only passing through the city on a trip from Texas. “It was his first time ever in Amsterdam,” chapter leader Brigitte Opel ’95 said. “He soon found himself dragged to our dinner.” She said the story provides a helpful reminder for all Thunderbird alumni when they travel. “If you are looking for company,” she said, “make sure to wear your Thunderbird shirt.”
Thunderbird alumni, from left, Manfred Hader ’84, Cristoph Adams ’93, Jens-Ole Boelsen ’93 and Hamburg Alumni Chapter Leader Yücel Yelken ’99 attend a First Tuesday gathering in November 2013 in Germany. Many other alumni chapters have stayed active in recent weeks, including some that connected with Thunderbird students and faculty during their Winterim courses around the world. Overall, 174 full-time students attended eight Winterim courses in Brazil, India, Peru, South Africa, Switzerland and various U.S. locations. Thank you to the T-birds who submitted the following photos from Winterims and other alumni connections:
Prospective students will connect with Thunderbird alumni around the world during Super First Tuesday events March 1-31, 2014. The annual tradition, which started in 2006, gives undergraduate students and working professionals a chance to learn more about the Thunderbird mystique from the people who keep it alive. “That taste of the amazing Thunderbird network is a powerful selling point,” said Rebecca Henriksen, Thunderbird's Vice President of Enrollment and Student Services Managment. Recruiters from her team will attend Super First Tuesday events at major U.S.
A record number of guests attended the end-of-the-year Thunderbird party organized by the Singapore Alumni Chapter on Dec. 3, 2013. Overall, 42 guests mingled at the Tanglin Club, a historic venue founded by British merchants in 1865. "This was our biggest gathering yet," chapter leader Steven Frank ’96 said. The group photograph was organized by Jukka Majanen ’91, a Finnish expatriate working in Singapore.
Thunderbird President Larry Edward Penley, Ph.D., traveled two hours south on Nov. 7, 2013, to meet with alumni in Tucson, Arizona, and to answer their questions about the school's planned alliance with Laureate Education. "I think most are now more comfortable with the planned alliance," Tucson chapter member Gary Miller ’73 said. "Dr. Penley was honest and answered questions, mine included." Tucson alumni will not meet in December 2013 due to the holiday rush, but chapter co-leaders plan of a full calendar of events in 2014. The attached photo shows Penley, second from right, with chapter co-leaders Bob Shatz ’82, Shiraz Peera ’71 and Shiva Prasad ’08 during the event.
Alumni from class years 1988 to 2013 attended the annual gathering of Thunderbird's Taipei Chapter on Nov. 3, 2013. "We had a great time," said chapter leader Shao-Ping Paul Pan '05. "People had a chance to get to know each other." About 25 guests, including some who commuted several hours from other cities, shared light refreshments and conversation at the Little London, a tea and coffeehouse decorated with British flags and other memorabilia. T-bird Steven Kao '04 took several photos, which may be viewed on the chapter's event page. Chapter leaders George Yao '05 and Frank Cheng Yang Chen '05 also donated their time and talents to make the event possible. The following video captures highlights of the activity:
In place of its regular First Tuesday, the Chicagoland Thunderbird Alumni Association co-sponsored an international careers roundtable discussion with WorldChicago on Oct. 1, 2013, at Leo Burnett offices in Chicago, Illinois. After hearing from career professionals, attendees gathered in small groups with roundtable leaders, who discussed their international experiences and how they got to where they are today. The event started with wine and light appetizers. Here are highlights from other First Tuesday activities around the world:
Alumni rugby players served as Thunderbird ambassadors during their summer 2013 tour of Croatia and Montenegro. The group distributed more than 100 tour programs detailing Thunderbird’s story and mission, along with a QR code leading to Thunderbird’s website. The QR code also appeared on the custom bottle openers that the T-birds gave to their opponents after each match.