The University of Utah is mourning the recent loss of three exceptional friends of our campus community—Ian Cumming, Ezekiel “Zeke” Dumke, and Jon Huntsman.
Ian Cumming, who died on February 2, was former chair of the board and CEO of Leucadia National Corp. He generously shared his time, business acumen, wisdom, and financial resources with the university and leaves a tremendous legacy across our campus and to the people of Utah. Ian didn’t relish the spotlight, but enjoyed knowing he was making a difference. To celebrate his wife Annette’s 60th birthday, he gave her the gift of a legacy to the next generation of nurses and to the community—when he announced a $5 million gift to the College of Nursing, Annette’s alma mater, for the renovation of the building that now bears her name. His donations to the David Eccles School of Business were transformational and included the lead gift for the C. Roland Christensen Center building, named for his favorite professor at Harvard, where he earned his MBA. Ian also gave generous support to research initiatives at the John A. Moran Eye Center, where he served on the advisory board. His remarkable generosity will be greatly missed and we are genuinely grateful for the significant legacy he leaves on our campus.
Ezekiel ‘Zeke’ Dumke, Jr., who shared a passionate commitment to the university with his wife, Kay, died on April 14. As an enthusiastic promoter of Utah tourism, Zeke founded Bullfrog Resort on Lake Powell. He was one of the founders and president of Western States Management and helped to establish the University of Utah Hospital Foundation, the Salt Lake Rotary Foundation, Dumke Insurance Agency, Western States Thrift, the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Utah, and several mining companies. With his wife, he co-founded the Katherine W. and Ezekiel R. Dumke, Jr. Foundation in 1988 and gave generously to support dozens of university programs, including Red Butte Garden, our gymnastics team, University of Utah Health, and our campus art and cultural programs. Kindness, curiosity, and a deep respect for education and philanthropy were core values that guided Dumke’s life. He welcomed new ideas and loved asking questions, and he pushed those he worked with to expand their thinking in order to address the problems of today as well as of the future. His enthusiasm and energy were unmatched, and he leaves the university better for it.
Jon M. Huntsman, Sr., a passionate supporter of the U, died on February 2. His vision and generosity will benefit cancer patients, their families, and people throughout Utah and the nation for generations to come. At the U, he and his wife Karen supported the basketball programs, student scholarships, and most recently, the creation of 26 presidential chairs—including 12 established last fall for our medical school—to support the work of talented faculty members. But curing cancer, the disease that so cruelly affected Jon’s own family, was his ultimate goal, and he saw his entrepreneurial success as a means of facilitating this fight. He established the Huntsman Cancer Institute in 1993 and lived to see the opening of its fourth phase last year—the Primary Children’s and Families’ Cancer Research Center. Jon’s fight to defeat cancer goes on and the university is fortunate to be a partner with the Huntsman family in continuing this noble endeavor. The University of Utah remains committed to Jon’s goal of eradicating cancer and to the success of the remarkable institute that bears his name. It is his legacy and one that will benefit generations to come.