$10M to Wharton/SAS Undergrad Program

At the Trustees stated meeting Friday, President Judith Rodin announced a $10 million gift from Alumnus Jon M. Huntsman (at right) and his family to endow a new undergraduate program in international studies and business, which will be renamed the Huntsman Program in International Studies & Business.

Mr. Huntsman, W '59, Hon. '96, is the founder, chairman and chief executive officer of Huntsman Chemical Corporation and a member of the Wharton Board of Overseers. A former trustee, he co-chaired the Campaign for Penn, and also funded Wharton's Huntsman Center for Global Competion and Innovation.

"Globalization is the single most dramatic change factor affecting business," Mr. Huntsman said in presenting the gift. "Our family is proud to endow a program that is the first to fully integrate comprehensive international studies into a business curriculum for undergraduates in order to prepare them to work effectively anywhere."

The Huntsmans have given to numerous other philanthropic causes including $100 million to the University of Utah to fund a cancer research center. The Huntsman Corporation is also instrumental in a chemical industry coalition to develop environmentally sound plastics recycling and disposal systems.

Mr. Huntsman heads Huntsman Chemical Corporation, one of the world's largest producers of plastics and specialty chemicals, with $4.5 billion in combined annual revenue, over 6,500 employees, and 81 locations in 23 countries. Two members of the Huntsman family, Jon Jr. and David, are graduates of the University of Pennsylvania. Jon Jr. currently serves as a member of the University of Pennsylvania's Board of Trustees. Jon M. Huntsman's brother, A. Blaine Huntsman, received his Ph.D. from Wharton in 1968, and two sons-in-law, Richard Durham and Jim Huffman, hold Wharton degrees.

The IS&B Program: First of its Kind

Dr. Roger Allen of SAS and Dr. Jamshed Ghandhi of Wharton are co-directors of the joint program in international studies and business, which they are quick to point out is "not an international relations program," but the first of its kind in the U.S. to integrate international studies, foreign language and business education at the undergraduate level. (Earlier, SAS and Wharton carved out a similar niche at the graduate level with an MBA/MA in International Studies, via the Lauder Institute of Management and International Studies. Alumnus Leonard Lauder recently added $10 million to the endowment there.)

Endowment for the newer, undergraduate program is "a remarkable vote of confidence" in the quality of the students and the program, said Dr. Ghandhi. "It's one thing to receive such generous funding when you have a track record--and the IS&B program is not even three years old." But, he added, IS&B attracts some of the brightest students in the country. Typically they rank among the top 2 percent of their high school graduating classes. Students in this year's entering class had an average combined SAT score of 1475.

Students in the program pursue a joint degree in business and the liberal arts, requiring 40 course units, four to eight more units than the conventional undergraduate program. They graduate with both a Bachelor of Arts from SAS and a Bachelor of Science in Economics from Wharton.

The program emphasizes foreign language study with students required to study abroad in their target language after four semesters in the program. Advanced language courses are being developed which use contemporary materials drawn from business, government, law and public policy. In the current academic year, students are studying at universities in Argentina, Chile, France, Germany, Japan, the People's Republic of China, Senegal, Spain and Taiwan, R.O.C.

"We couldn't be more pleased and honored to receive this important gift from the Huntsman family," said Wharton Dean Thomas P. Gerrity. "As part of the School's strategic planning process, this gift serves as an appropriate launching point for moving Wharton forward as the leader in international studies and business well into the future." "This program effectively combines our School's strengths in language, political science, and cultural studies with Wharton's expertise in business education," said Walter Wales, interim dean of the School of Arts and Sciences. "We are delighted to collaborate with Wharton on this innovative program and we are deeply grateful to the Huntsman family for their extraordinary generosity."

President Rodin said the new gift "supports the Wharton School's strategic plan to sustain its long-term leadership position in key areas and is part of Penn's Agenda for Excellence, the strategic plan that proposes a series of critical priorities and objectives for Penn over the next five years. Both plans specify globalization as a focal point for future initiatives."

Provost Stanley Chodorow also cited the gift's centrality to the overall theme of globalization, one of the 21st-Century goals that he discussed this year's State of the University address to the University Council, published last week in Almanac.


Volume 43 Number 20
February 4, 1997

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