Then & Now

History runs deep at Thunderbird, which served as a military training base during World War II. Then & Now highlights the changes that have taken place since 1946, when the school opened its doors as the world’s first institution focused exclusively on global management education.

Who are Berger and Mabel Erickson?

You may have sat under the Erickson Alumni Pavilion. Perhaps you have seen the photo of Berger in the Tower gallery, right outside the restrooms. But who, really, are Berger and Mabel Erickson?

In the summer of 1946, Mabel and her husband Berger drove to Phoenix, Arizona from Texas. When they arrived at the Thunderbird Field No. 1, they found a desolate campus, overgrown with weeds and wildlife. The buildings were barren, beaten-up and lacking furniture. What could possibly bring this young married couple thousands of miles to such a bleak desert landscape?

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Did You Know: Thunderbird School In Glendale Was WWII Training Base

KJZZ article:

By Nadine Arroyo Rodriguez, KJZZ
July 17, 2015

It is one of the most recognized business schools in the world — and it’s right here in the Valley.  But Thunderbird School of Global Management at Arizona State University had a different purpose during World War II.

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Then & Now: Thunderbird logo, 1940s to 2014

Many schools retrofit their logos onto buildings, signs and other surfaces around campus. At Thunderbird the entire campus is the logo. Architects who laid out Thunderbird Field 1 in the early 1940s arranged the trees, buildings and roads into the shape of the mythological Native American creature that has represented Thunderbird for more than 70 years. Founders Hall rose at the heart of Thunderbird, while pilots kept their Stearman planes lined up as tail feathers. Pilots displayed the original red and black Thunderbird insignia on their planes from 1940 to 1945.

Magazine Department: 

From the archives: Thunderbird Magazine, Spring 1980

The Spring 1980 issue of Thunderbird Magazine explores business opportunities in Africa with a cover photo by former Thunderbird Professor Karl Magyar showing a Togo street market. “Change in sub-saharan Africa is best described as abrupt, dynamic and uncertain,” the article states. “There is nothing more important to the nations of Africa than getting on their feet through self-determination by exploitation of the rich mineral and agricultural resources with which they are blessed. Nigeria is a leader in this regard.” The isssue also features African recipes from the Thunderbird Wives’ Club 1978 International Cookbook. Former Thunderbird President William Voris also highlights African enrollment at Thunderbird. “In the past year we have had students from Tanzania, Nigeria, Kenya, Cameroon and the Sudan,” he reports. “This is a good beginning, but the school wants to be more helpful to these developing nations.” Read the full issue …

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Thunderbird Magazine, Spring 1991

The spring 1991 issue of Thunderbird Magazine highlights campus changes under the leadership of former Thunderbird President Roy Herberger, Ph.D. “The School is now reflecting the course he has charted,” the cover article says. “New degrees are being offered — the Executive Master of International Management and the Master of International Health Management; new buildings are changing the campus horizon; new ties are being forged in Japan, Austria and Germany to expand the unique Thunderbird program; and a new capital campaign has been announced to create this world of difference.” Read the full issue in PDF format.

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Thunderbird Magazine, Spring 1975

Few women enrolled at Thunderbird in the school’s early decades. “We never used to encourage women students,” Thunderbird’s former Director of Alumni Relations Martha Snyder says in an Arizona Republic article published Dec. 17, 1972. “Men employers think women will get engaged in six months, then six months later get married, then get pregnant shortly after that.” About 6 percent of Thunderbird graduates were women in 1972, including Susan Corcoran Hayes ’72. “I can look back on many of the campus interviews in which the interviewer inquired if I thought I could work effectively overseas as a woman,” she says in the spring 1975 issue of Thunderbird Magazine. “My answer was that if I did my job well and satisfied the client’s needs, I should have no problem.” By 1975 about 20 percent of Thunderbird graduates were women — meaning the rate more than tripled in three years. View a PDF of the spring 1975 issue.

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