He will take over in July from retiring President Alan Merten, which Cabrera said gave him at least six months to learn the school fight song.
Thunderbird is located in Glendale, Ariz., a suburb of Phoenix, and has full-time degree programs exclusively for masters degrees in global management. It has an enrollment of 677 full-time and 662 part-time students, so Mason’s enrollment of more than 33,000 will be a considerable step up.
But Cabrera’s selection Thursday may provide an interesting insight into how Mason wants to move into the future. Cabrera’s degrees are in engineering — he earned another master’s, and then a Ph.D. from Georgia Tech — and he has published numerous academic papers, so he will be attuned to Mason’s research and science side. And his leadership of Thunderbird, his heading of a United Nations commission on corporate citizenship and his prominence in the field of global business may enhance Mason’s presence in the business and development worlds. And those are areas which will help Mason’s continued expansion, which Merten oversaw brilliantly.
Also, Cabrera was born in Spain, and earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Madrid Polytechnical University. This gives Mason a Hispanic president, which may increase the university’s appeal to that booming demographic as well as to Mason’s own multicultural community, where the student body is now 50.25 percent non-white.