Blogs didn’t exist when I arrived at Thunderbird in 1966 as the school’s fifth president. Back then we were called the American Institute for Foreign Trade. The name has changed more than once since then, but the school’s mission has remained virtually the same. Thunderbird has stood for decades as a champion of “doing good while doing well.” That’s why I agreed to join this blog community when Kellie approached me recently about sharing my insights on the importance of global citizenship. Let me start by introducing myself. My name is Art Peterson. I am the president who parked his plane behind his house on the airfield (on what was then called “faculty row”).
I came to Thunderbird from the position of chief of staff of the Republican National Committee in 1966 and served at Thunderbird until my health led me to resign in 1969. I had previously been a a state legislator, a U.S. Marine company commander in Korea and a professor of international relations at the University of Wisconsin and Ohio Wesleyan University. My academic preparation came at Yale, the University of Southern California , the University of Chicago and the University of Minnesota, where I earned a Ph.D.
I had been deeply interested in Thunderbird since its founding and had persuaded several of my best students at Wisconsin and Ohio Wesleyan to matriculate there. Shortly after I was named president, I encouraged the Board of Trustees to change the school’s name to Thunderbird Graduate School of International Management and to change the degree from a “first professional” Bachelor of Foreign Trade to a Masters in International Management.
I also urged and oversaw the regional accreditation of the school. Since my early days at Thunderbird, I have recognized the tremendous potential for good that Thunderbird graduates have. I look forward to sharing stories and reflections with you in this forum.