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ASU to celebrate new Thunderbird building with groundbreaking ceremony

Thunderbird officials say the building represents start of new era for the school heading into its 75th anniversary


An artist's rendering displays the Thunderbird School of Global Management's new building located near ASU's downtown Phoenix campus in Phoenix, Arizona. Illustration published on Sunday, Oct. 6, 2019. 

In celebration of a new building coming to downtown Phoenix, ASU’s Thunderbird School of Global Management is hosting a groundbreaking ceremony on Monday.

The event will take place from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at 401 N First St. in Phoenix. ASU President Michael Crow and Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego will be in attendance, according to the Thunderbird website

The event will feature live music, food trucks and a flag ceremony. Attendees can also take a 3D tour of the building with virtual reality headsets. 

According to the website, the event is open to both the public and ASU community members. 

The new building will serve as a hub for the school and is expected to be completed in 2021. According to Jonathan Ward, spokesperson for the Thunderbird School of Global Management, the building will be finished in time for the school’s 75th anniversary. 

“We have been offering classes for the last few years at the Arizona Center, but the new building opening up at the same time as our school's anniversary is really nice timing for us,” Ward said. 

Ward said the Downtown Phoenix location is perfect for Thunderbird students because it is in “the heart of the business district” and has access to other parts of the valley. 

He also said the groundbreaking ceremony on Monday represents a new chapter in the school’s history. 

“The building is symbolic of a lot of things,” Ward said. “It’s a whole new era.” 

The building will serve not only as a hub for Thunderbird but also as a community space for other Downtown Phoenix students. Ward said all students can take advantage of the school’s 4+1 program, an accelerated program that allows students to get a master's degree in one year after they receive their bachelor's. 

The Downtown Phoenix building will offer programs such as the graduate program and the executive education program. The school’s undergraduate program will remain at ASU’s West campus

Read More: ASU announces the Thunderbird School of Global Management will move to the Downtown Phoenix campus 

Sydney Scudder, a junior majoring in global management, said the new building’s groundbreaking ceremony is exciting because of the increased opportunity it gives Thunderbird students. 

“The West campus, where a lot of the programs that will be at Downtown are moving from, is really nice but also really small,” Scudder said. “This new building is a totally different experience, and I think it’s the start of a new generation of students, both undergraduate and graduate.”

She said the Downtown Phoenix location is promising for Thunderbird students who will attend the school because of its state ties as the capital of Arizona. 

Tomas Bilbao, executive director of branding and communications for the school, said the building is a key player in what he calls “Thunderbird 4.0.” 

“This new building will serve as a permanent home for the Thunderbird school,” Bilbao said. “It’s the symbol of laser-focused leaders who can lead in the fourth industrial revolution.”

He said the completion of the building coinciding with the school’s 75th anniversary is no mistake. The Downtown Phoenix building will not only serve as a testament to what the school has accomplished in that time, but also what still needs to be done. 

“We’re committing to the next 75 years with the newest and most advanced technology,” Bilbao said. “Having this building is about embracing a vision of training a new group of leaders.” 

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