This past week has been an extraordinary and challenging time for our University and community. Members of our campus community spoke out and made their perspectives known.

It is now time, I believe, to return to our mission of serving our students, caring for our patients and pursuing critical research. In that spirit, I am pleased to confirm that Dr. Mary Beckerle will, effective immediately, resume her service as the CEO and Director of the Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI) with authority over its cancer research, clinical care, and administrative functions. Dr. Beckerle, a Distinguished Professor of Biology, has led the Institute for 11 years. Under her leadership its scope and stature have increased greatly with the award of Comprehensive Cancer Center designation, the highest recognition afforded by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and one that is reserved for only a handful of elite cancer centers in the United States. Effective today we have changed HCI’s reporting structure, and Dr. Beckerle will report directly to the President of the University. I am very grateful for her committed leadership and look forward to working with her in the coming years. 

We reaffirm our shared commitment to maintain the Institute as a Comprehensive Cancer Center and site of world-class patient care, cancer research and education. We appreciate the great work of our health care professionals, staff and faculty and confirm our support for them going forward. We also acknowledge our patients and their families for their bravery and their partnership in our fight against cancer. I regret any disruption to the Huntsman Cancer Institute community whose work is so important to the people of Utah and, increasingly, our nation.

The University of Utah is now working with the Huntsman family on a new Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), with the goal of reaffirming the Huntsman Cancer Institute’s role as an integrated and collaborative part of the University, while maintaining HCI’s strategic autonomy required for it to thrive as a highly ranked Comprehensive Cancer Center.   

We want to again thank the Huntsman family for their major financial commitments to the Huntsman Cancer Institute, and especially Jon Huntsman, Sr., for his vision, energy and passion for finding ways to cure this terrible disease. We are excited about the June 21st opening of HCI’s newest facility, the Primary Children’s and Families’ Cancer Research Center, which will enable our faculty and staff to accelerate their groundbreaking research into cures for cancer.

David W. Pershing
President, University of Utah

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