The Thunderful Story of Two Thunderbird Thunderlovers…

Thunder (for good measure)

Story by Anthony Veltri approved by Tingli Wan

Tingli Wan and Anthony Veltri took two very different paths before meeting at Thunderbird School of Global Management in late 2013. Tingli, through hard work and determination, moved from Nanchang, China to study in Beijing, then Barcelona, Spain, and finally worked for 2 years in Bogota, Colombia before deciding to further her education. Anthony studied and worked in Chicago, Illinois for the most part, traveling abroad for leisure, and stumbled upon Thunderbird through a former employer/alumna.

Even after arriving at Thunderbird’s historic Glendale campus and participating in the ThunderOlympics they somehow didn’t meet until Tingli was invited to a grilling/soju event (party) by a friend at Thunderbird’s second epicenter of fun, the West Dorms. Consequently, this party was literally taking place at Anthony’s doorstep and could not be ignored. He joined in. Tingli’s friend introduced her to Anthony and after a few moments of banter, Tingli mentioned that it was cold outside. Anthony, confident that his thick Chicagoan blood was enough to handle an Arizona chill lent Tingli his coat. Tingli accepted the coat and kept it, in fact, for about a month. During that month, the two of them managed to forget each other’s names, and they had no classes together so their paths never crossed. Tingli, reached out to her friend, another West Dorm inhabitant, who shared Anthony’s name and relative location.

After returning the coat they, again, did not cross paths until a trip to San Jose, California for a Net Impact Conference. Each night after the conference they and their peers would go about the town, and eat, and drink, and chat. They got to know each other much better after each outing and upon their return to Thunderbird, they began taking walks along the campus’ perimeter. Finally, Anthony asked Tingli on a date to Federal Pizza (which they highly recommend) and they began to pursue a relationship. After graduating in late 2014, Anthony stayed in Arizona with Tingli until she too graduated in 2015. They agreed that they would attempt to maintain a long-distance relationship, which they did as Tingli returned to China for 1 year and then moved about the U.S. on a rotation program, while Anthony worked in Chicago, visiting her whenever and wherever he could.

After three years of this, Tingli was slated to settle in Detroit, Michigan. They were married in 2017 during the downtime between Tingli’s transition and moved to Michigan together. Today they live in Canton, Michigan with their Dog Theodore “Teddy” Rooseveltri and the newest member of their family, a Thunderbaby, Ana Sophia Veltri (Sophia being a middle name, and not to be taken as a second first name). While this domestication has only temporarily stymied their ability to travel the world, they plan to recommence that passion as soon as Ana is able. They often reflect on how improbable their meeting would have been, if not for Thunderbird bridging the gap.

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