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Amy Gutman Hoopes Wampler Jon Huntsman Evans A. Gutmann 12-2009
Alumni Relations 03-10 A. Gutmann 03-2010 Amb. Huntsman 03-09-2010
A. Gutmann 11-2010 A. Gutmann, V. Price 02-2011 Amy Gutmann 09-2011 CLINTON
United States Ambassador to China

Penn alumnus, Jon Huntsman, Jr., Penn alumnus and former Governor of Utah, arrived in Beijing on August 21, 2009 as Ambassador to China. The Penn Club of Beijing is proud to have this honorable alumnus in Beijing.

Jon Meade Huntsman, Jr. (born March 26, 1960 in Palo Alto, California) is the governor of the state of Utah, having first won the office in 2004. His first term as the 16th governor of Utah began on January 3, 2005. He was re-elected, with running-mate Gary R. Herbert, on November 4, 2008, with over 77% of the vote. President Barack Obama announced on May 16, 2009, that Huntsman will be his nominee to serve as United States Ambassador to China.

Early Life and Education

Huntsman is the son of billionaire businessman and philanthropist Jon Huntsman of Huntsman Corporation. Huntsman dropped out of high school to be in a rock n' roll band [6]. He attended the University of Utah, where he became a member of the Sigma Chi Fraternity. He received a Bachelor's degree in business from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania after transferring to that school.
He served an LDS mission in Taiwan and speaks Standard Mandarin Chinese fluently.


From 1987 to 1988, Huntsman and his family lived and worked in Taipei. After college, Huntsman worked as a White House staff assistant in the Reagan Administration, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce and U.S. Ambassador to Singapore in the administration of President George H.W. Bush and a deputy United States trade representative in the George W. Bush Administration.
In addition to his public service, Huntsman served as an executive for the Huntsman Corporation, the Huntsman Cancer Foundation and CEO of Huntsman Family Holdings Company. Other organizations he has served include the Utah Opera, Envision Utah, the Coalition for Utah's Future, and KSL-TV's Family Now campaign.

In November 2004, Huntsman was elected Governor of Utah with 57% of the vote, defeating Democratic Party nominee Scott Matheson, Jr. He was re-elected in November 2008 with 77.7% of the vote, defeating Democratic Party nominee Bob Springmeyer.

During his tenure as governor, Utah was named the best managed state by the Pew Research Center.

President Barack Obama nominated Jon Huntsman to serve as the United States Ambassador to China on May 16, 2009, noting his experience in the region and proficiency in Mandarin Chinese. The appointment was wholeheartedly endorsed by Senator John McCain.


Huntsman's maternal grandfather David B. Haight was an Apostle of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, of which Huntsman and his family are also members. Huntsman has eight brothers and sisters and over 60 nieces and nephews on his side of the family.

Huntsman is a seventh-generation Utahn; his wife Mary Kaye is a first-generation Utahn. Together they have seven children: Mary Anne (b. 1985), Abigail (b. 1988), Elizabeth (b. 1989), Jon III (b. 1991), William (b. 1993), Gracie Mei (b. 2000), who is adopted from China, and another baby girl from India, Asha Bharati (b. 2006).
Huntsman is also a self-proclaimed fan of the progressive rock genre and on July 30, 2007, attended a concert by progressive metal band Dream Theater. Later that day, Huntsman signed a proclamation creating "Dream Theater Day" on that date for the state of Utah. According to Dream Theater's website, Huntsman is a keyboard player. Huntsman also joined REO Speedwagon on the piano for two songs during their concert at the Utah State Fair on September 16, 2005.

Political Views

As governor, Huntsman lists economic development, health-care reform, education and energy security as his top priorities. He has overseen large tax cuts and has advocated reorganizing the way that services are distributed so that the government will not become overwhelmed by the state's fast growing population. Huntsman would like to expand health-care, mainly through the private sector, by using tax breaks and negotiation to keep prices down. He also advocates encouraging people with insurance to use it as preventive care.

Huntsman is receptive to environmental issues and would like the state to reduce fuel and energy consumption. He is also concerned with nuclear waste being stored within his state. On hot button social issues, such as abortion and gun control, Huntsman generally walks a more conservative line. The same is somewhat true for gay marriage, though he has shown support for civil unions. He also defines his taxation policy as "business friendly." Huntsman has spoken out against his own party over the failure of the Republican-controlled State Senate to confirm his nominee for the Utah Court of Appeals. The governor also sees Utah as being uncompetitive with the rest of the nation in terms of securing the best teachers.

Huntsman's name has appeared on some lists of potential Republican nominees for the 2012 presidential election, and John McCain has gone so far as to mention his name as a potential candidate for the 2012 election as well.

Click on the links below from the Washington Post and Bloomberg News for more about this exciting announcement.

Biographical facts on Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr.

Obama Names Republican Governor Huntsman to Be Envoy to China