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Jon Huntsman, Jr., a 1987 College graduate, spoke at University Commencement in 2010, giving credit to Penn for helping him find his passion and urging the graduating class to do the same.

Photo: Melanie Lei / Daily Pennsylvanain

Former Utah Gov. and 1987 College graduate Jon Huntsman Jr. has joined the shortlist of candidates to be President-elect Donald Trump’s secretary of state, according to an Associated Press report.

Trump, a 1968 Wharton graduate, has reportedly moved away from the two previous frontrunners, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and former Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney. The Associated Press report said some of the president-elect’s allies have harshly criticized Romney as a potential pick and Giuliani’s international business ties have made him an increasingly untenable pick.

Huntsman Jr. — son of Jon Huntsman Sr., whom Huntsman Hall is named after — ran for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012 and has previously served as an ambassador to China. His support for Trump has not been entirely uniform during the race: After the release of a tape in early October where Trump brags about committing sexual assault, Huntsman called on Vice President-elect Mike Pence to lead the ticket instead.

More recently, Huntsman joked at a Board of Trustees meeting in late October about Trump, saying, “I remember sitting in this room twenty years ago and the great lament was, ‘We don’t have enough Penn people running for politics at the highest level.’” He was drowned out by laughter from trustees and others assembled in the meeting.

In a news report from a local Salt Lake City FOX affiliate, Trump’s senior adviser Kellyanne Conway commented on the situation on Sunday, saying “More than four but I — who knows how many finalists there will be. It’s a big decision and nobody should rush through it.”

The AP mentioned other new candidates for the position, including Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), who is chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and retired Gen. David Petraeus.

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