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After arriving to the Thunderbird School of Global Management as the interim chief academic officer and provost in April, Larry Penley was officially announced as the school’s president and Chief Academic Officer (CAO) Nov. 1, according to the school’s press release.

Penley has more than 35 years experience in the academic field as president of Colorado State University, dean of the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University, and chairman of the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB). He has also been honored for his service to INROADS Arizona and the Greater Phoenix Economic Council.

“My focus as president and chief academic officer will be on students, employers and the quality of the learning experience,” he said in the press release. “Everything else will flow from this.”

It was the same focus that turned CSU’s declining enrollment around and doubled the school’s fundraising, and also turned the W.P. Carey School of Business into a top 25 MBA ranking. While at ASU, he oversaw the launching of successful MBA programs in China and Mexico.


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“Thunderbird is very fortunate to have Dr. Penley at the helm,” said Ann Iverson, Chair of Thunderbird’s Board of Trustees. “He is a lifelong learner who embraces innovation, fosters collaboration, and welcomes diverse viewpoints.”

Penley has taken over for Ambassador Barbara Barrett, who was interim president for the past six months.

–Dustin Base.