SALT LAKE CITY - Jon M. Huntsman, chairman and chief executive officer of the Huntsman companies, has donated $100 million to the Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. The donation - said to be the largest financial contributionever to medical research - was made Oct. 2 in a ceremony on the site where the insti-tute's new building will be constructed.
Huntsman also announced that other individuals and philanthropic groups raised $51 million, bringing the total financial contribution to the institute to $151 million.
``Our family's commitment is to help find a cure for cancer,'' Huntsman said. ``Today we begin our battle for a cure, which will not cease until cancer finally has been extinguished.''
Huntsman has a personal stake in curing cancer. His parents died from the disease and he successfully has battled prostate and mouth cancers.
The institute will focus on human genetics and inherited cancer syndromes. Renowned genet-icist Dr. Raymond White will direct the research.
Huntsman's donation is the second-largest cash gift in the history of higher education in America, according to Giving USA, a publication that tracks significant charitable contributions.
``We feel that by combining internationally recognized scientists with a first-rate medical school, along with generations of genealogical records kept in Utah, the opportunity for a significant breakthrough never has been better,'' Huntsman said.
``Cancer will be defeated.''
Huntsman Group is an affiliation of companies including Huntsman Chemical Corp. and Huntsman Corp. - the former Texaco Chemical Co.
An active participant in the plastics industry and a vocal advocate of plastics packaging, Huntsman established the Center for Environmental Research at Utah State University.
Huntsman also set up the Center for Global Competition and Leadership at the University of Pennsylvania, from which he has a master's degree.