LU News Archive

Jon Huntsman to speak in Fisher Distinguished Lecture Series

Jon HuntsmanPhilanthropist, industrialist and author Jon M. Huntsman will visit Lamar University April 3, becoming the 11th guest in the Judge Joe J. Fisher Distinguished Lecture Series. He will present a free public lecture titled “We are not put here to fail” at 2 p.m. in the University Theatre. A public reception will follow the event.

“We are delighted to have Mr. Huntsman as our guest,” said Kevin Smith, senior associate provost and chair of the Judge Joe J. Fisher Distinguished Lecture Series committee. “Known worldwide as a leader in industry, his phenomenal business success is matched by his equally incredible generosity. On every level, his is an inspiring story.”

The Judge Joe J. Fisher Distinguished Lecture Series was created in 1986 to honor Judge Fisher’s many contributions to Southeast Texas and Lamar University. The people of the community established the series to benefit Lamar students and to honor the longtime federal judge who died June 19, 2000.

Past lecturers in the Fisher series are former President Gerald Ford, Larry McMurtry, Vladimir Sakharov, Stephen Jay Gould, Linda Ellerbee, Antonin Scalia, Arthur Schlesinger Jr., former Prime Minister Shimon Peres, James Watson, and former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto.

Huntsman is founder and executive chairman of Huntsman Corp., a global manufacturer and marketer of specialty chemicals.

Forty years ago, Huntsman began a small entrepreneurial plastics packaging business.   Originally known for pioneering innovations in packaging and, later, for rapid and integrated growth in petrochemicals, its operating companies today manufacture chemical products used in a wide range of industries, with more than 12,000 employees and multiple locations worldwide.  The company’s 2012 revenues exceeded $11 billion.

Huntsman earned his undergraduate degree at The Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania, and subsequently earned an MBA from the University of Southern California.  He has been awarded 13 honorary doctorate degrees.

Huntsman was a U.S. Naval Gunnery Officer.  He served under President Richard M. Nixon as Special Assistant to the President and as White House Staff Secretary.  

Huntsman authored a book on corporate ethics entitled, Winners Never Cheat: Everyday Values We Learned as Children (But May Have Forgotten).   The second edition is entitled Winners Never Cheat: Even in Difficult Times and made the Wall Street Journal’s best sellers list.

Widely recognized as one of America’s foremost concerned citizens and philanthropists, Huntsman’s lifetime humanitarian giving, including contributions to the homeless, the ill and the under-privileged, exceeds $1.4 billion and has assisted thousands, both domestically and internationally. 

He was a member of the American Red Cross Board of Governors from 1997-2005 and from March through October 2013. He also serves on the board of the Beaumont Foundation.

The Chronicle of Philanthropy placed him second on their 2007 list of largest donors.  In 2011, Forbes Magazine counted him among the 18 “most generous givers on the planet.”

Huntsman and his wife, Karen, founded the Huntsman Cancer Institute in 1995 to accelerate the work of curing cancer through human genetics.  The Institute is now one of America's major cancer centers dedicated to finding a cure.  The combined facility features leading edge research laboratories and a state-of-the-art hospital treating cancer patients. 

Parking Location MapA recently announced $100 million expansion will double the laboratory space and create the Primary Children’s and Families’ Cancer Research Center, which will focus exclusively on inherited and childhood cancers.

Huntsman has served in senior leadership positions in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for 50 years.

Jon and Karen Huntsman are the parents of nine children.  They have 56 grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.

Parking will be available in lots C-3 and C-5 near the University Theatre. For more information on the April 3 event or the Fisher Distinguished Lecture Series in general, call (409) 880-8400.