|Birth Day||June 21, 1937|
|Birth Place||Salt Lake City, Utah, United States|
|Age||83 YEARS OLD|
|Died On||February 2, 2018(2018-02-02) (aged 80)\nSalt Lake City, Utah, U.S.|
|Alma mater||Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania (BS) USC Marshall School of Business (MBA), 13 honorary degrees|
|Occupation||Founder & Chairman, Huntsman Corporation|
|Children||9, including Jon Jr. and Peter|
|Awards||Othmer Gold Medal (2004), Bower Award from the Franklin Institute (2015), Armenia's Medal of Honor (1999), Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy Award (2015)|
I was impressed with Jon from the first, when he told me he lost respect for Richard Nixon... when he learned that Nixon had not given anything to charity one year he was president ... It was clear to me that Jon's real motivation in his work and accumulation of wealth was to give much of what he has to make people's lives better.
Jon Meade Huntsman was born in Blackfoot, Idaho, into a poor family. His mother, Sarah Kathleen (née Robison; 1910–1969), was a homemaker, and his Father, Alonzo Blaine Huntsman Sr. (1910–1990), was a school educator. In 1950, the family moved to Palo Alto, California, where Alonzo pursued graduate studies at Stanford University, earning an M.A. and Ed.D. He then became a superintendent of schools in the Los Altos district.
Huntsman married Karen Haight, daughter of David B. Haight, in June 1959, just weeks after he graduated. Both are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church). In July 1959, Huntsman left to serve for two years in the U.S. Navy as an officer aboard the USS Calvert. He subsequently earned an MBA from the University of Southern California's Marshall School of Business in 1966.
In 1961, Huntsman was employed by Olson Brothers, Inc., an egg-producing company in Los Angeles. There he rose through the ranks to the position of vice President of Operations. Recognizing that the company sustained substantial losses due to poor packaging, Huntsman became interested in developing a better alternative. His leadership was key in developing the first plastic egg carton. In 1965 he established contact with the polystyrene operations of the Dow Chemical Company. In 1967 he became President of a joint venture between Olson Brothers, Inc., and Dow Chemical, the Dolco Packaging Corporation.
Huntsman had supported the University of Utah in Salt Lake City in other ways as well. The 15,000-seat Jon M. Huntsman Center for special events opened in 1969 and is used for gymnastics, basketball, and volleyball. It has been the site of national championships in both gymnastics and basketball, including NCAA men's basketball. As of 2013, the Huntsmans have supported the building of an additional basketball practice facility, to be named the Jon M. and Karen Huntsman Basketball Center.
While the Huntsman Container Corporation's first packaging plant was being built in 1970, Huntsman joined the Nixon Administration as Associate Administrator of the Department of Health, Education and Welfare and later served as Special Assistant and Staff Secretary to President Nixon. Upon completion of the second Huntsman Container site in Troy, Ohio, in 1972, Huntsman left the White House staff to become President and CEO of Huntsman Container, while still serving – in a non-paid position – as a consultant to the Office of the President.
In 1974, Huntsman Container Corporation created the "clamshell" container for McDonald's Big Mac. The company also developed other popular products, including the first plastic plates, bowls and fast-food containers. In 1976, after completion of its first international plant at Skelmersdale, England, a stock deal was arranged to sell Huntsman Container Corporation to Keyes Fiber Company. Huntsman continued to serve as CEO of the container Business for four more years and held a directorship of Keyes Fiber Company.
The law library at Brigham Young University, built in 1975, was expanded and renamed for Howard W. Hunter in 1995 with financial support from Jon and Karen Huntsman and other donors. A new library building at Southern Utah University, named in honor of retiring SUU President Gerald R. Sherratt, contains the Jon and Karen Huntsman Reading Room. The Huntsmans also contributed to the Karen H. Huntsman Library in Snow College, Utah. Completed in 2010, it is a "green" building, expected to be the first academic library in the state to achieve gold Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification.
In 1977 he was chairman of the Western States Republican Leaders. He was also the Republican Party of Utah national committeeman from 1976 to 1980. He was a friend of conservative radio talk show host Glenn Beck and has been interviewed on his show. He was more socially conservative than his son, Jon Huntsman Jr. His focus was cancer thus he was close friends with both Glenn Beck on the right and Harry Reid on the left, who have both helped further the mission of Huntsman Cancer Institute.
In 1982, after serving as a mission President for the LDS Church in Washington, DC for three years, Huntsman continued his plastics and petrochemical pursuits with the formation of a new company, Huntsman Chemical Corporation, in Salt Lake City, Utah. In his capacity as CEO and Chairman, he grew the Business into a multibillion-dollar company, in part by acquiring a number of businesses in the polystyrene industry when they were not seen as profitable. Between 1986 and 2000 Huntsman acquired 36 companies, 35 of which turned out to be hugely profitable.
He served as chairman for Utah in Ronald Reagan's presidential campaign in 1984 and George H. W. Bush's campaigns in 1988 and 1992.
On December 8, 1987, Huntsman's son, James, then age 16, was kidnapped and held for $1 million ransom by Nicholas Hans Byrd, a former classmate. FBI agents traced the kidnapper and rescued James unharmed, but agent Al Jacobsen was stabbed in the chest during the arrest.
Huntsman has also contributed to efforts to rebuild in Armenia, which was devastated by an earthquake in 1988. He and other family members have made 46 trips to Armenia over 25 years. He estimates that he has given at least $50 million to relief efforts in Armenia, including money to build schools and hospitals. One of his earliest projects there involved setting up a plant to make pre-stressed concrete, to supply building materials for reconstruction and to employ Armenians. The Huntsmans have built a tile roofing plant in Yerevan, apartment complexes, and a K-12 school in the city of Gyumri. The Huntsmans also provide scholarships to bring Armenian students to America to study at Utah State University. Huntsman has been granted citizenship in the country and awarded two medals of honor by Armenia, one of them the St. Mesrop Mashtots Order,
In 1989 Huntsman gave $1 million to Utah State University in Logan, Utah for the Huntsman Environmental Research Center. At a press conference to announce the gift, Huntsman said the preservation of the environment is the single most important issue in the world. The Huntsmans also donated $500,000 to rebuild the Alumni Center, renamed the David B. Haight Alumni Center in honor of Mrs. Huntsman's Father. In December 2007, Utah State University announced that its College of Business would be renamed the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business, in recognition of a gift from Huntsman and his wife of $26 million, a major contributor for the new $40 million school of Business building referred to as Huntsman Hall—the largest in the university's history to that time. In 2017, Huntsman and Charles Koch donated another $50 million to the Huntsman School of Business for student scholarships and a new Center for Growth and Opportunity.
One of Huntsman's most notable causes is the Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI) at the University of Utah, of which he was the founder and principal benefactor. He and his wife Karen established the Huntsman Cancer Institute in 1993 with a gift of $10 million from the Huntsman family. The Huntsmans gave the institute a further $100 million in 1995, an amount roughly equal to a year's total distribution to researchers from the American Cancer Society. Their goal was to accelerate the work of curing cancer through human genetics. The institute is now one of America's major cancer research centers dedicated to finding a cure for cancer with a state-of-the-art cancer specialty hospital.
Huntsman has also given support to other universities. He has served as Chairman of the Board of Overseers of his alma mater, the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. One of the school's signature buildings, Jon Huntsman Hall, was named in his honor. Huntsman made an unrestricted gift of more than $50 million to Wharton, which was critical to development of the $140 million project. As of 1994, the Huntsmans also endowed the Huntsman Program in International Studies and Business at the University of Pennsylvania, a four-year undergraduate program that combines Business education and liberal arts.
Huntsman was widely recognized for his humanitarian giving which, including contributions to the homeless, the ill and the under-privileged, exceeds $1.5 billion and has assisted thousands, both domestically and internationally. The Chronicle of Philanthropy placed Jon and Karen Huntsman second on their 2007 list of largest American donors. On January 1, 2000, The Salt Lake Tribune included him among "The 10 Utahns Who Most Influenced Our State in the 20th Century" for his donations to education and medical research. In 2001 Jon and Karen Huntsman were presented with the Entrepreneur of the Year Award for Principle-Centered Leadership. In 2003 he received the Humanitarian of the Year Award, presented by Larry King of CNN. In November 2008, the American Cancer Society presented him its Medal of Honor for Cancer Philanthropy, and in 2014 he was awarded the william E. Simon Prize for Philanthropic Leadership. In 2015, he was awarded the Philanthropy Roundtable’s Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy Award.
Huntsman's eldest son, Jon Jr., also served as a Huntsman Corporation executive. He was elected Governor of Utah in 2004 and was a candidate in the Republican Party presidential primaries in 2012. He has also served in other governmental positions, including as Ambassador of the United States to Singapore, China, and (as of 2017) Russia.
Huntsman has published a book about his life experience, communicating moral lessons. Titled Winners Never Cheat: Everyday Values We Learned as Children (But May Have Forgotten), it was published by Wharton School Publishing in 2005. A second edition, titled Winners Never Cheat: Even in Difficult Times, made the Wall Street Journal's best-sellers list.
In 2007 Huntsman co-founded an additional new private equity firm, Huntsman Gay Global Capital (now known as HGGC), with two former Bain Capital executives Robert C. Gay (1989–2004, managing director) and Greg Benson (executive vice President in London), former Sorenson Capital co-founder and managing Director Rich Lawson, and Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback Steve Young to focus on Investments in middle market companies.
Huntsman's donations of more than $1.2 billion overall dropped him from the "Forbes 400" list as of 2010. His wealth was not disclosed; however, he was listed as number 937 on the "Forbes World's richest Persons" for 2010. He was one of only 19 of the world's 1,200 billionaires to have donated more than $1 billion. He has said that he wants to "die broke" by giving his money away to various charities.
Huntsman's son, Jon M. Huntsman Jr., served in the administrations of five U.S. Presidents, including Barack Obama, and was a candidate for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination.
Huntsman also promoted support of the institute through the Sigma Chi fraternity. Sigma Chi chose the Huntsman Cancer Foundation as one of its preferred philanthropic partners in December 2012. As of April 12, 2013, Sigma Chi had raised their first one-million dollars for cancer research. By 2017, Sigma Chi's total has reached over five million dollars for cancer research.
In November 2013, Huntsman donated or raised $120 million to Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah for the construction of a new research building dedicated to children's cancer. Construction of the Primary Children's and Families' Cancer Research Center at Huntsman Cancer Institute is nearing completion and will be dedicated June 21, 2017, on Huntsman's 80th birthday.
Huntsman was a four-time cancer survivor. He died on February 2, 2018 at his home in Salt Lake City.