New Directions: A Letter from the Editor

By: Rick Beitman

Adaptation, according to Dr. Michael Crow, ASU president, citing Darwin’s Theory of Evolution, is the characteristic of successful organizations, not just successful organisms. – On Thursday, January 29, Dr. Crow officially welcomed Thunderbird School of Global Management into the ‘ASU Knowledge Enterprise’ in a celebratory affair at the Thunderbird Event Center (TEC) alongside new Thunderbird CEO and Director General, Dr. Allen Morrison, and Thunderbird President Emerita, Ambassador Barbara Barrett.

Photo Courtesy of Beitman
Photo Courtesy of Beitman

The celebration, entitled ‘A New Beginning’, kicked off the merger of Thunderbird and Arizona State University, which is now being lauded as a ‘partnership’. It drew over 500 attendees while over 300 watched the event online. – All speakers at the engagement viewed the arrangement as ‘a win-win situation’ for both institutions. While it is now possible to optimistically look to the future, the finalization of this partnership does end the era of uncertainty at Thunderbird.

Photo Courtesy of Beitman
Photo Courtesy of Beitman

Having found its ideal partner in ASU, Thunderbird is no longer in dire financial straits with the resources of a world-class research university behind it. But what do we do now? – While the future is brighter, it is now up to all stakeholders, administration, faculty, students, and alumni alike to make this work. And just because we are now a part of the larger Sun Devil community does not mean we stop being T-Birds.

On January 20 in his State of the Union address, President Obama likened America to a family, stating, “We are a strong, tight-knit family. We too have made it through some hard times.” – This is equally applicable to Thunderbird, a very close-knit family that has endured some tough times. But having survived a global economic recession and an October 2014 storm that seriously damaged the campus, we have learned there are no storms we cannot weather.

But where we are going is at least as important as where we have been. In 1946, General Yount had a vision that international commerce was the future. While other institutions have spent nearly 70 years catching up to Thunderbird in this niche, this has always been our differentiation, our ‘mystique’. It is important to be masters of our own destiny in this enterprise, and that will determine how successful the outcome of this partnership truly is. While it is necessary to adapt to change, it is also necessary to hang on to tradition.

Photo Courtesy of Beitman
Photo Courtesy of Beitman

Now, more than ever, we need to be T-Birds to a tee. Thunderbird must be an institution of both tradition and innovation. – As Editor-in-Chief of Das Tor, it is my hope that we can take part in this process. Established in 1969 as the student newspaper of Thunderbird, Das Tor is a T-Bird tradition.

Photo Courtesy of Beitman
Photo Courtesy of Beitman

Das Tor, which means “the gate” in German, is the mode in which we can all tell our stories, your story, Thunderbird’s story. Our staff is committed to our roots and our collective future, but we need collaboration from our community. Please share in this enterprise by reading and contributing to Das Tor, your gateway to Thunderbird.

Sincerely,

Rick Beitman

Editor-in-Chief, Das Tor

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