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Alumni and Friends Directory

Karen Haight Huntsman

Karen Haight Huntsman

Title: Philanthropist

Company: Huntsman Foundation

Location: Salt Lake City, Utah

Huntsman School Interactions:

Huntsman School of Business Commencement Speaker - May 7, 2011


Karen Haight Huntsman was born in San Diego, Calif., in 1938. Mrs. Huntsman is the daughter of the late Elder David B. Haight of the LDS Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and Ruby Haight.

She attended high school in Palo Alto, Calif., where she was a student leader. She then matriculated at the University of Utah. Mrs. Huntsman was a member of Chi Omega Sorority and active in student affairs. She was voted the Miami Triad Queen by Sigma Chi, Phi Delta Theta and the Betas. During her junior year in college, she left the university to marry Jon M. Huntsman, a young Navy officer and recent graduate of The Wharton School of Finance at the University of Pennsylvania.

A woman of considerable accomplishment and deep commitment, Mrs. Huntsman has and continues to leave a legacy of family, faith and community service. Although she was present at the founding of Huntsman Corporation, as her husband’s greatest source of support, she has since played a vital role in the expanding family empire as vice president and director --- or in the words of Forbes Magazine, the “Chairman of the Chairman”.

Mrs. Huntsman’s active interest in community affairs is reflected in her longstanding service on several boards of directors, including the Utah State Board of Regents, the University of Utah’s National Advisory Council, Primary Children’s Medical Center and the First Security Corporation.

Mrs. Huntsman’s honors, awards and accolades have been many but certainly none more than being the mother of nine children, grandmother of 56 and great-grandmother of three. She is known to be a repository of information and a frequent guest speaker on health-related issues and frequently convenes tutorials with her grandchildren on nutrition, philosophy and boyfriends.

Although central to her life, family is not the only organization that benefits from her giving spirit. The broader community has benefited enormously too. Her humanitarian endeavors have been evident through the creation of the Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah, which today is setting new standards for basic molecular research along with clinical application and treatment. This world-class effort was infused with another unprecedented financial boost with April’s 2011 announcement by the Huntsmans that $125 million would be added to the original $150 million founding gift.

Among the many things by which Mrs. Huntsman will be remembered, a better quality of life for generations to come will certainly be among the most important.

Related Huntsman News Articles:

Breaking Ground on Huntsman Hall (Huntsman Alumni Magazine - Fall 2013)