Dr. Robert F. Delaney became the 6th President of Thunderbird after Dr. Arthur Peterson resigned from office due to health reasons. Dr. Delaney was one of the youngest Presidents of Thunderbird. Before assuming the role of President, Dr. Delaney was working as the Director of Edward R. Murrow Center of Public Diplomacy (administered by Tufts and Harvard universities) in Medford, Massachusetts.
Dr. Delaney had served in U.S. Foreign Service in various positions at Europe, Latin America and in Far East. He has also served in the Chief of East Europe Branch of Voice America and assistant director of Joint US Public Affairs office in Vietnam. He had also taught at Catholic University, Boston University, American university, Cape Cod college, U.S Naval War college, the Navy Postgraduate school and the Foreign Service Institute. The Board chose Dr. Delaney because he possessed all the necessary qualifications required from a Thunderbird President. He had academic credentials, overseas experience, business experience and skills in fund raising.
Under his leadership, Thunderbird went through lots of sudden changes. Japanese language was introduced in the campus. He eliminated all the bachelor’s degree and the two master’s degree was converted to the M.I.M requiring 54 credit hours. Faculty and students did not like the increased requirements, the change in faculty policies and the new rules. They were vexed with the miscommunication in the college. As a result a flurry of letters bombarded the board and the administration writing petitions on the then uncertainty with the school policies. The board took a prompt action and consulted the student committee. Vice President of Dr. Delaney, John Schott was asked to leave immediately. Dr. Delaney resigned from his position. His resignation was accepted in Feb 1, 1971.
In this case, Dr. Delaney could not fit himself into the Thunderbird culture. An interdisciplinary faculty committee came up with a set of recommendations for the next president that involved many key points like making thoughtful decisions including the faculty and the students, who understands and appreciates Thunderbird goals and philosophy, who is well-known in the academic and business world. Thunderbird was waiting for its next champion president…
Note: I would like to personally thank Shannon Walker, Archivist, Thunderbird School of Global Management for providing all the necessary materials for the column – From The Archives… Look for others interesting articles in this column during Fall 2014.