From the Archives – Famous Buildings in Thunderbird (Part 3)

contiThe Continents

This project was initiated and funded by the Thunderbird Class of 1960. The French Sculptor, ANNJA, created it. It stands at 15 ft tall, weighs 1.5 tons and took four years to complete. It represents the 135 countries from where the Thunderbird Alumni come from and work in. The outer layer features the interconnected continents and symbolizes the movement, communications and exchanges between countries and cultures. At its base is a quote from former Thunderbird professor William Schurz, “Borders frequented by trade seldom need soldiers.”  It was dedicated on the lawn of IBIC – International Business Information Center in 2000. It is affectionately referred to as “The Globe” and has become a Thunderbird Campus landmark and symbol of the School’s global mission and scope.

Merle A. Hinrichs International Business Information Centre (IBIC)

The IBIC was opened in 1994 and was made possible by the generous contributions of Merle Hinrichs ’65, an alum and Board of Trustee member. Hinrichs contributed more than one million dollars to build the state of the art facility that now houses more than 70,000 books, 1000 DVD/videos, and 1,700 subscriptions to world-wide journals and newspapers from every continent.. all in a variety of different languages. In addition, the facility contains 40 computer terminals, more than 160 network terminals, and is Wi-Fi enabled. The IBIC is truly a library for the technology age.

Courtesy: Thunderbird Archives
Courtesy: Thunderbird Archives

For all the glitz and glamour, the origin of the Thunderbird library is a humble one. Dorothy Burge was the first Thunderbird librarian; she was hired in the School’s first year of operation. The library was located adjacent to the bookstore, in the hangar close to Greenway Avenue. The initial books on international management came from New York. In September 1953, Lora Jeanne Wheeler joined the library staff. Wheeler, who served under four presidents said, “All of the presidents have been very library oriented and they have, I think, placed a high priority on building a good library.”

Dr. Art Peterson conceived the idea of a new library during his tenure as president, but his timing could not have been worse. Peterson and the Board were hoping for a government grant to build the library, but it coincided with the year that President Richard Nixon decided that library buildings did not need any form of government support. Undaunted, Peterson and the Board went out and solicited funds for building a new library. Companies like Goodyear and Caterpillar responded to the call and made the new library facilities possible.

Courtesy: Thunderbird Archives
Courtesy: Thunderbird Archives

In 1971, the library was moved to the newly constructed Barton Kyle Yount Building. During this time, the library was still named the Barton Kyle Yount Memorial Library. In 1994 it moved to its current home, just across the lawn from the Yount Center and acquired its new name – The Merle A. Hinrichs International Business Information Centre (IBIC). Though small in physical structure compared to many other libraries at traditional universities across the country, IBIC is nonetheless considered a best-in-class library.





This article is published in the magazine – Thunderbird – Taking Flight in Global Leadership – Written and Compiled by Abe Jacob ’03 with Kellie Kreiser ’04 and Chelsea Oyen; Chapter Six: Our Campus, Our Home. 

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