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Wharton's New Academic Center: Jon M. Huntsman Hall

Ribbon Cutting

On October 25, the Wharton School celebrated as hundreds of well-wishers gathered at the Locust Walk entrance of the building to witness the dedication of the Jon. M. Huntsman Hall. The ribbon cutting was handled by Mr. and Mrs. Jon Huntsman, President Judith Rodin, Dean Patrick Harker and Provost Robert Barchi. The building, located at 38th and Walnut Streets, was designed by Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates of New York. Philanthropist Jon Huntsman, W '59, and his family have donated more than $50 million to Wharton and Penn. The $139.9 million building is being funded entirely by gifts from alumni, corporations and friends. Mr. Huntsman is chair of the Board of Overseers of the Wharton School and a former Penn Trustee. When he was a student at Penn, he was elected senior class president in 1958, and was president of Sigma Chi fraternity and the Kite and Key Club. He then launched the Huntsman Container Corporation which produced polysterene products and within eight years he had developed more than 80 different polystyrene packaging products. He sold the company in 1978 and then founded the Huntsman Chemical Corporation in Salt Lake City, Utah, in the early 1980s. Throughout his professional life, Mr. Huntsman has been motivated by a sense of moral commitment, family values, and humanitarianism. He and his wife, Karen, have donated more than $200 million to numerous causes and charities worldwide. In 1970, he was appointed to serve in the Department of HEW, and during 1971-72 he served as special assistant and White House staff secretary to President Nixon. That was when he and Vice President Dick Cheney began their friendship which continued for over 30 years. The vice president was invited by Mr. Huntsman to speak at the morning dedication ceremony.

Aerial View of Huntsman Hall

By sheer size--324,000 square feet, 48 classrooms, 57 study rooms, lecture halls, auditoriums and conference rooms--Huntsman Hall is one of the most sophisticated large-scale instructional centers of any educational institution in the world. After nearly a decade of planning, the state-of-the-art facility opened in August, so that classes could be held in the classrooms which are wired for multi-media and broadband audio and video conferencing, which links classrooms not only here but with Wharton West in San Francisco, and to classes and executive education programs at INSEAD in France and Singapore. Other technology advances include digital and video recording and archiving of sessions in each classroom over the Wharton Video Network, which allows students, faculty and alumni to view class materials on demand over the internet; connectivity between group work stations and Internet access; and a custom instructor's lectern is featured in each of the classrooms and incorporates a computer keyboard, laptop ports, a microphone, and a master control system which adjusts audiovisual equipment, lights and room settings. On the top floor of the round section, is East Hall, a sky-lit meeting space with commanding views of campus and Center City. See for a virtual tour of the building and many more photographs of the recent festivities.

Baker Forum

Baker Forum (above) is a 4,000 square foot area that will be the center of undergraduate life and activity, accommodating up to 500 people for special events. There are also two cafes in Huntsman Hall.


The patio (above) provides an outdoor oasis for Wharton's 2,400 undergraduates, 1,600 MBA students, 200 Executive MBA students, and 200 Ph.D. candidates.



  Almanac, Vol. 49, No. 11, November 5, 2002