Thunderbird to kick off public launch of $65M capital campaign

September 28, 2008

Thunderbird School of Global Management will celebrate the public launch of Campaign Thunderbird Oct. 1 with a community celebration on Thunderbird’s Glendale, Ariz., campus. The $65 million campaign, which already has more than $42 million in total commitments, was jump started in its quiet phase with several multimillion-dollar pledges from alumni and members of the Thunderbird Board of Trustees.

Most recently, Thunderbird alumnus and chief executive of Phoenix-based Pivotal Group, Francis Najafi pledged a $1 million matching gift for groundbreaking research from faculty, and Michigan businessman Dick Devos donated $1 million to fund scholarships for students from developing countries.

Other early gifts included $10 million from alumnus and Trustee Scott Walker and $5 million from campaign chair Craig Barrett. Campaign commitments also include $4 million from alumnus Jerry and Rachele Nichols, $3.5 million from Trustee and alumnus Ken Seward, and $2.6 million from a family foundation being created by Trustee David and Joan Lincoln and their family.

The campaign, which seeks to raise $65 million in support of scholarships, faculty, research, facilities and technology, is the most ambitious fundraising effort on which the school ever has embarked.

“This is a pivotal and historic time in Thunderbird’s history,” said Thunderbird President Ángel Cabrera. “Never before in history has the need for global business talent been more in demand, and never before has our mission to educate global leaders who can make a positive and lasting difference in the world been more relevant.

“At Thunderbird, we hope to convey to our students the idea that business — while meeting its objective of creating economic value for customers and financial returns for shareholders — can also be a leading force in eradicating poverty, advancing peace and protecting our natural environment,” he said. “It was from that belief and the living out of our unique mission that our campaign theme became ‘A pledge for a better world.’”

The Oct. 1 celebration is free and open to the public. It begins at 6 p.m. at the International Business Information Centre lawn, and will include food, drinks and entertainment. Participants may R.S.V.P. at For more about Campaign Thunderbird, visit