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Higher Learning Commission (HLC): Add conditions to Laureate / Thunderbird JV

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Dear Dr. Manning,


Higher Learning Commission, 

We are writing to you today to propose an alternative to the current Thunderbird School of Global Management/Laureate Education Joint Venture that has created such division among students, alumni and faculty. We feel that for Thunderbird to survive long term, it needs to recover the ”mystique” which made it special. This mystique was founded on General Yount’s vision that fostered a close interrelationship between the Administration, faculty and alumni.

We, stakeholders of the school, feel that there is a middle ground that the majority of Thunderbird would rally behind.

We believe that for Thunderbird to prosper in the future it must:

1) Maintain its academic and financial independence.

2) Maintain its academic standards at a high level.

3) Improve alumni relations consistent with other high performing graduate schools.

4) Preserve its 501c3 status.

5) Develop an expansive school strategy that uses technology to extend its educational reach and bring students closer together.


In order to address these concerns and to unite the school, we are respectfully recommending the following for your consideration:

1) Thunderbird should have management control of the Joint Venture so that it controls the courses it offers

2) The JV with Laureate should be an equal partnership with painless dissolution options for both parties.

3) Thunderbird should retain all of its original courses and Executive Education programs so that the school does not suffer financially. The JV should be limited to a distribution channel only.

4) The sale/leaseback involving the campus should be cancelled so that Thunderbird can solicit a mortgage in the most transparent, and cost effective manner in order to retain its independence.

5) Thunderbird should not have for-profit partners on its Board.


By promoting these changes, we feel that Thunderbird will be in a much stronger position to insure its long-term health and independence.



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