John Huntsman, Sr. was born in Blackfoot, Idaho, in 1937, to a Mormon family. An American businessman and philanthropist, Huntsman established the Huntsman Corporation, and he is considered the world’s 47th richest person. He is the father of Jon Huntsman, Jr., former governor of Utah and ambassador to China under President Barack Obama, then a presidential candidate.
Huntsman came from a poor family, but he was able to attend the University of Pennsylvania. He also majored in business at the Wharton School. A building and business program at the school are named after him.
Huntsman worked on President Nixon’s staff, and then for Dow Chemical Corporation before founding Huntsman Chemical, which grew into a multi-billion dollar enterprise. In 2007, Huntsman co-founded a new private equity firm, H&G Capital Partners, joining former Bain Capital executive Robert C. Gay to focus on investments in middle market companies. Among Huntsman’s partners is Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback Steve Young.
Huntsman is a noted philanthropist. One of his most notable causes is his co-founding of the Huntsman Cancer Institute. His namesake HCI building holds this quote “Selfless giving unto others represents one’s true wealth.” Time Magazine identified Huntsman as the sixth largest philanthropist in the United States in 2000. In 2007, Huntsman gave $750 million in contributions and donations, placing him second on The Chronicle of Philanthropy‘s list of the nation’s top 50 givers (Wikipedia.org). He has also supported the University of Pennsylvania, the Wharton School, the University of Utah, Brigham Young University, Southern Utah University, and earthquake-devastated Armenia.
Huntsman has been married to his wife Karen for nearly 50 years, and they are the parents of 9 children and have over 70 grandchildren, two of which are adopted from China and India (the children of Jon Huntsman, Jr.). Their oldest son, Jon Huntsman, Jr., was elected governor of Utah in 2004, and their second oldest son, Peter R. Huntsman, Sr., took over as CEO of the Huntsman Corporation from Huntsman (Wikipedia.org).
In his book, “Winners Never Cheat: Everyday Values We Learned as Children (But May Have Forgotten)” in 2005, published by Wharton School Publishing, Huntsman conveys moral lessons drawn from his life’s experience.
As a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints he serves as an Area Seventy and as a member of the Fifth Quorum of the Seventy. He has also served as a stake president and as President of the Washington, D.C. Mission.