From the Archives

2003_010_026By Shannon Walker

Presidential Transitions

In the wake of current elections and our recent presidential transition, let’s take a look back at Thunderbird’s own Presidential history:

Dr. William L. Schurz

In July 1949, the American Institute of Foreign Trade faced its first major crisis: it’s beloved first President, retired General Barton Kyle Yount had suddenly died of a heart attack while on holiday near Sedona. Less than three years into its existence, the administration of the young school and the Board of Directors decided to appoint Dr. William Lytle Schurz as the school’s 2nd President.

Dr. Schurz was a professor of Latin American studies at AIFT.  As described by a colleague, Dr. Schurz was “warm, human, dedicated to the ideals of the American Institute for Foreign Trade…He held his classes spellbound as he unfolded for them the story of Latin America. He was the ideal symbol, unquestionably the most beloved of all the faculty and held in high regard by the students.”

However, after only 2 years in office, Dr. Schurz longed to return to teaching full time and so he resigned from the Presidency in June of 1951. It was his desire to return to instruction and working with students full time and so he was reappointed as a professor and Director of the Area Studies Department.

So, in June of 1951 the school began a new search for a third president…

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