From the Archives


Courtesy: Thunderbird Archives
Courtesy: Thunderbird Archiv

Dr. Roy Herberger, Jr. became Thunderbird’s eighth president, following the retirement of President William Voris. He led the school for 15 years of growth in a tumultuous world from July 1, 1989 to June 30, 2004. Herberger had a clear picture of goals in his mind that he wanted to accomplish in the school. His main goal was to ‘globalize the school which is a pioneer in international management’.

In his own words – “When I say globalization,” Herberger said in one of his first addresses, “I mean that Thunderbird must take the lead among academic institutions worldwide. For me, that means we must be able to move between continents-administratively, financially and otherwise. It means the possibility of mergers, acquisitions or perhaps moving to different shores.”

After 15 years of unprecedented growth, Herberger achieved what he set out to achieve – Thunderbird operated in multi-shores, had culturally diverse faculty and achieved academic and corporate partnerships across the globe. ”Roy [has] always looked at the School as a business,” said John O ‘Connell, Thunderbird’s C.V. Starr Chair of International Risk Management. “While Thunderbird is an academic institution first, it’s also a business and needs to convey those principles.”

Herberger wanted to enter the emerging European market for graduate business training and created the Archamps campus in Europe where there were 100 students enrolled in full time programs and a few more students from Glendale campus went for a Winterim experience. Herberger’s global diversification strategy also included the establishment of partnership programs and alliances with other academic institutions and organizations. He created a degree program for Latin American managers in conjunction with Tecnologico de Monterrey in Mexico. Herberger said, “It has proven to be a phenomenally successful distance learning program, established at a time when that type of offering was not looked on well by the industry.”

Courtesy: Thunderbird Archives
Courtesy: Thunderbird Archives

Dr. Roy Herberger’s most notable achievements as president of Thunderbird was the state-of-the-art International Business Information Centre. The Merle A. Hinrichs International Business and Information Center – IBIC was opened on June 13, 1994. The main purpose of IBIC was to act as the central hub of research on campus using the most advance information technology. The then Vice President of Information services and Director of IBIC stated, “The IBIC was built when technology for libraries was changing toward electromagnetic resources. The goal has been to buy less paper and more databases. In fact, the IBIC has responded quickly to explosive changes in information technology during the past 10 years. Thunderbird students in every corner of the world can now access IBIC online resources that include 50 databases with links to thousands of international business journals, periodicals, academic abstracts, market analyses, investment firm reports and corporate profiles. Students also can search IBIC’s online “card” catalog and request paperless reference assistance from remote locations.”

Herberger involved the international business community in the school’s globalization effort. During his years, Thunderbird established four regional councils within the Thunderbird Alumni Association (TAA). “Dr. Herberger made sure the TAA was integrated into the strategic planning process by giving us representation within the Board of Trustees,” said Catalina Cisneros ’97, former member of the TAA North America Council.

Under Dr. M. Edgar Barrett and Roy Herberger’s leadership, Thunderbird’s top-ranked Executive Education program grew to a $16 million plus annual enterprise. More than 6,000 executives from corporations worldwide participated each year in various programs. These programs were aimed at developing the cultural and business skills of executives. There were customized courses, open enrollment and online certificate programs and Executive MBA programs were not only offered in U.S. but also in Asia and in Eastern Europe during Herberger’s tenure.

Thus Herberger clearly accomplished his goal of developing Thunderbird into a school with more than a U.S. face. This globalization of an international school is even more valid now. It is this vision that will propel Thunderbird into the future.




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