Funded by a $22.5 million gift and named for the late businessman and philanthropist Jon Huntsman, Sr., who died in February, the Jon M. Huntsman Presidential Chairs will provide support over five years for academic researchers, educators, and clinicians in a wide range of fields, with the possibility of one-time renewal. Faculty members in the fields of biomedical informatics, dentistry, general obstetrics and gynecology, psychiatry, population health sciences, and pulmonary medicine were announced as the first inaugural appointees, with the six remaining appointees to be named by July 1, 2019.
In October 2017, the university and the Huntsman Cancer Foundation resolved a dispute over the revenue sharing, operations, and fundraising of the Huntsman Cancer Institute, which was founded in 1998 with a gift from Huntsman and his wife, Karen. At the time, the family also outlined additional support for the University of Utah Health Sciences, including the creation of the presidential chairs.
"These individuals are recognized leaders in their respective fields," said A. Lorris Betz, interim executive dean at the School of Medicine, senior vice president for health sciences, and CEO of University of Utah Health. "Their exemplary research and clinical work has already evidenced considerable impact, and with this additional support they will continue to advance our collective knowledge and improve care in their respective fields."
"The university, in its most basic form, should be an incubator of ideas and solutions and the resolution for problems of society, particularly around health care," Huntsman Family Foundation CEO Peter Huntsman told the Deseret News. "I hope that when we look at where we are in the world of dentistry or psychiatric care or population health, any of these sort of areas, we're going to be in a vastly different place five or ten years from now."