SALT LAKE CITY — Emily Howe knows where she'll be attending college this fall.
"One-hundred percent," the Bountiful High School senior said of her decision to attend Utah State University.
Howe plans to study accounting and international business at Utah State's Jon M. Huntsman School of Business, and she has applied to join the Huntsman Scholar Program, the school's undergraduate business honors program.
"I knew the undergraduate program was the best," she said, "and I saw what they put into their students and how much one-on-one time they gave them and the opportunity they gave them."
Howe was among the dozens who gathered Friday at the Huntsman Corp. headquarters to honor industry leaders and foundations for the $60 million in donations to the Huntsman School of Business over the past seven years.
Jeffrey D. and Bonnie Clark, the George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Foundation, Kem and Carolyn Gardner, Dell Loy and Lynnette Hansen, the Call Family Foundation, the Larry H. and Gail Miller Family Foundation, O.C. Tanner Co., Young-Chul and Mira Hong, and Duane and Marci Shaw were inducted into the Juniper Society — a elite group of those who donated $1 million to $10 million.
The Huntsman Foundation was also recognized for its donations of more than $25 million and was inducted into the Society of 1888, an honor reserved for those who have given more than $10 million.
"In order to really build excellence in a place, you have to have resources," USU President Stan Albrecht said, noting the need for excellent facilities and faculty to attract outstanding students.
"This giving that's reflected in this group of individuals is allowing us to build on all three of those areas, which is really huge for our future as an institution," Albrecht said.
Douglas D. Anderson, dean of the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business, described the donations as "absolutely transformative."
"We're so deeply grateful, especially to Jon and Karen Huntsman for believing in us," Anderson said. "They've really enabled us to dream big and to aspire together toward excellence."
A portion of the donations will go to the new Huntsman Hall, a $42 million, 117,000-square-foot building with 21 classrooms and 21 student meeting rooms that is expected to open in the fall of 2015.
Anderson said Huntsman Hall will focus primarily on student success and work in tandem with the business building to "give us a facility that will really be literally second to none."
Despite rivalry on the football field or basketball court, Anderson said where education is concerned, all of the universities in Utah are "working on the same mission."
"We're trying to create great opportunities for all the young men and women in the state," he said.
Howe said the donations demonstrated just how much others give to create the best opportunity for her as an incoming student.
"These people believe in us, and so I need to try my hardest to get where I want to be," she said. "It makes me want to try a little harder. It makes me want to go sit on the front row and take advantage of every opportunity that they're giving me."
"We're finding students are making decisions to come to Utah State now because of this," Albrecht said. "We're finding that we're attracting faculty from the very best universities in America because they want to be part of something that is growing, that is succeeding."