By Jesse Lewis
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Wednesday, November 16, 2005
Today marks Janet Bingham’s seventh year as vice president of University Advancement, just a small chunk of her nearly 25-year career with the UA, which will end when she retires in January.
Bingham said she was chosen to fill the position from the 100-candidate pool a national search started when President Peter Likins revived the position in 1997.
“I feel like the most fortunate person in the world for working in this position under President Likins,” Bingham said. “I genuinely really love him.”
As vice president of University Advancement, she is responsible for establishing positive relationships with news media, government officials, corporations and foundations, and the general public. She specifically highlights the success of the UA’s researchers, scientists, administrators and professors.
Likins said she has strengthened the nation’s perceptions of the school through press relations specifically with federal officials and created a strong foundation for the school to excel in its fundraising efforts.
“I felt the UA needed to improve its external relations, which she has accomplished,” Likins said.
Bingham began her professional career at the university in 1983 with the UA News Service, where she worked as a writer, editor and national news coordinator. She became well known in news agencies across the country and worked to bring the UA into the public’s eyes, she said.
“There was a time I could walk into The New York Times, and the security guard would wave me through, I was there so much,” Bingham said.
Bingham received her undergraduate, master’s and doctoral degrees at the UA and was born and raised around Tucson. Her family moved to the city in 1893, and her parents and immediate family made Tucson their home, she said.
But come March 2, she will move to Salt Lake City to take the position of president and chief executive officer of the Huntsman Cancer Foundation, Bingham said.
“It is very difficult to leave and only really an exceptional offer (like this) could lure me away from here,” Bingham said.
Bingham will preside over the foundation, which was founded by Jon Huntsman, who was included in this year’s Forbes 400 for his billionaire status as owner of Huntsman Chemical. Huntsman told Forbes this will be his last year on the list because he is putting most of his fortune into the foundation, which funds cancer research.
Huntsman lost his mother, father and stepmother to various forms of cancer and has dedicated himself to finding an alternative for people suffering with some form of the disease. Bingham said three years ago she lost her husband to pancreatic cancer, and she holds the cause close to her heart.
“It’s really an opportunity to be on the front line of this battle and participate in the war we must continue to wage,” Bingham said. “I would really like to see (cancer) in all its forms be cured.”
Likins, who plans to retire in June, said he is sad to see her go but knows she will excel in the foundation and has accepted a position she can thrive in.
“She has given a great deal of her life to this institution, and it has given her a lot in return,” Likins said. “I feel very good about her opportunity with such an excellent foundation.”