Grace A. Tanner Center

About the Tanner Center

The Grace A. Tanner Center for Human Values was created through an endowment provided by the Tanner Trust for Utah Universities by Obert C. Tanner, Professor Emeritus of philosophy at the University of Utah and the Founder and former Chairman of the O.C. Tanner Jewelry Company.

Grace was the sixth of eleven children born to Thomas and Luella Redd Adams in Parowan, Utah. She married Obert Tanner in 1931, raised their six children and helped with the business that originated from a basement and grew into a worldwide corporation. The Tanners were philanthropists and instrumental in starting up the outdoor Adams Shakespearean Theater in Cedar City, named in honor of Grace’s parents. Grace received the Person of Vision Award in 1985 from the Utah chapter of the National Society to Prevent Blindness. Her academic interests inclined toward the sciences, especially biology and anthropology, fields where she contributed generously. She passed away in 2005 at the age of 98.

The purpose of the Trust was to provide for a lecture series at three Utah universities to which the Tanner family had close ties: the University of Utah, where Obert Tanner was employed as Professor of Philosophy; Utah State University, where Joseph Tanner, Obert's father, served as second president; and Southern Utah University (then Southern Utah State College), where Grace Adams Tanner, Obert's beloved wife, had attended school.

Grace Adams Tanner

At Southern Utah University, the Tanner Lecture was established as a function of the Grace A. Tanner Center for Human Values in honor of the late Grace Adams Tanner (pictured above right).

Tanner Room 2

Tanner Room 3

Tanner Room 2

The goal of the center is to encourage maximum exposure of students, faculty, and the larger community to the ideas which best exemplify the human condition and the values which help to define it. Since 1980, the Tanner Center has provided access to some of the foremost minds in the world—men and women who have achieved preeminence in their respective fields. The list of names includes Nobel prize winners, Pulitzer prize winners, university presidents, English lords, and even a past president of the United States.

In addition to the annual lecture, Tanner Center activities include sponsorship of other programs such as the Distinguished Faculty Honor Lecture and the annual Grace A. Tanner Scholarship, covering full tuition and fees for a year to a student selected by one of the colleges at the university. The Tanner Room provides resources for students and faculty and is open Monday through Friday from 10:00 to 5:00 p.m. for study and use of reference materials.

The Director of the Tanner Center is Danielle Dubrasky, Associate Professor of English at Southern Utah University