Feb 01, 2019 3:00 PM


SALT LAKE CITY - Jon M. Huntsman, Sr. was a visionary philanthropist who made it his personal mission to eradicate cancer from the face of the Earth. He often described his devastation after the loss of several family members and close friends to the disease. In the 1990s, he received his first of four cancer diagnoses. His personal experiences with cancer ignited a determination to make a difference. After he completed treatments, Huntsman and his family vowed to use their considerable means to transform the experience for cancer patients and to advance research. Vision began its course to reality with the founding a cancer center that would bear the Huntsman family name.

February 2 is the first anniversary of his death and Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI) at the University of Utah (U of U) will mark the day by illuminating the renovated ‘Beacon of Hope.’

Located on the west side of the original HCI research building, the feature was Huntsman’s idea. In 1999, as construction of the building was near conclusion, Huntsman shared his idea of a light emanating from the cancer center that would reflect HCI’s commitment to push forward cancer research and provide exceptional patient care. The light feature became known as the Beacon of Hope.

Due to limitations in technology available two decades ago, the lighting feature was not continuously lit as originally intended. HCI began renovation on the Beacon of Hope in January 2018. It was briefly lit after Huntsman’s passing last year at the age of 80. Over the past twelve months, further improvements were made to update the installation with energy-efficient lighting panels. The new Beacon of Hope has 61 individual lighting panels embedded with pixel LED lights, each with an operating life of 30 years. Each panel is five stories high.

“Jon M. Huntsman started a movement that transformed a once-empty hillside into a state-of-the-art cancer campus, every square-inch of which is designed to end the suffering caused by cancer,” said Mary Beckerle, PhD, HCI CEO. “While he passed away one year ago, the Beacon of Hope serves as a reminder that his vision lives on and we will not stop until cancer is eradicated from the face of the earth.”

Renovations to the feature were completed under the direction of Jacobsen Construction, Next Generation Lighting, and Architectural Nexus.

Media Contact

Debby Rogers
Public Relations - Huntsman Cancer Institute
801-587-7639

About Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah

Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI) at the University of Utah is the official cancer center of Utah. The cancer campus includes a state-of-the-art cancer specialty hospital as well as two buildings dedicated to cancer research. HCI treats patients with all forms of cancer and is recognized among the best cancer hospitals in the country by U.S. News and World Report. As the only National Cancer Institute (NCI)-Designated Comprehensive Cancer Center in the Mountain West, HCI serves the largest geographic region in the country, drawing patients from Utah, Nevada, Idaho, Wyoming, and Montana. More genes for inherited cancers have been discovered at HCI than at any other cancer center in the world, including genes responsible for hereditary breast, ovarian, colon, head, and neck cancers, along with melanoma. HCI manages the Utah Population Database, the largest genetic database in the world, with information on more than 11 million people linked to genealogies, health records, and vital statistics. HCI was founded by Jon M. and Karen Huntsman.

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