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Utah State to Receive Largest Donation in School History


Utah billionaire Jon M. Huntsman Sr. is pledging the largest donation in Utah State University history.

The exact amount has not been announced, but it will exceed the previous record of $15 million. The amount of the donation and what it will go toward will be announced on Dec. 3.

“We don’t want to steal the thunder from the event itself,” said Utah State spokesman John DeVilbiss.

In response to the gift, the university will rename its business college after Huntsman, who is the father of Utah’s governor.

Huntsman will announce the donation at a reception on Dec. 3.

“It’s a major, major event,” said Steve Eaton, director of communications at USU’s College of Business. “It’s a key moment in our history.”

The Huntsman family amassed a conglomerate of companies with products that included the clamshell container for the Big Mac. McDonald’s Corp. abandoned the container in the 1990s in favor of more environmentally friendly packaging, but the Huntsman companies continued to grow by producing materials such as ethylene, propylene and polyurethanes used in a wide variety of products, from automotive materials to adhesives and paint.

Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. sold his shares of stock and stepped down as chairman and chief executive of Huntsman Family Holdings Co., the controlling shareholder in a $9.5 billion string of chemical manufacturing companies, after taking office in 2005.

Earlier this year, chemical maker Huntsman Corp. accepted an offer from Hexion Specialty Chemicals Inc., a division of Apollo Management LP. In mid-October, Huntsman shareholders voted to approve the acquisition by Hexion.

Utah State has been aggressively fundraising since the March announcement of the school’s comprehensive campaign, which aims to generate $200 million in contributions. So far, the school has raised about $150 million, DeVilbiss said.

On Oct. 6, USU announced its previous record-high gift of $15 million from entrepreneur Marc Bingham and his wife, Debbie. The money went to the construction of an Entrepreneurship and Energy Research Center at USU’s Uintah Basin campus in Vernal.

Information from: The Herald Journal,

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