SUU In View (Alumni Magazine - Fall 2001)
Hall of Honor receives Obert C. and Grace Tanner
by Eugene Woolf
On Founders' Day, March 23, 2001, Obert C. Tanner and Grace Adams Tanner were inducted into the SUU prestigious Hall of Honor. Obert Tanner, who died in 1993, was inducted posthumously. Grace Tanner, who, at age 94, was physically unable to attend, was inducted by electronic transmission from the Eccles Center at the University of Utah. A sizable audience was able to observe, by way of a large screen, a live conversation between her and President Steven Bennion, who coincidentally grew up in the Tanners' neighborhood and knew them from his youth.
Obert and Grace Tanner are two of Utah's most enlightened and generous citizens. Their philanthropy has touched every institution of higher education in the state, and SUU is fortunate to be a recipient of special treatment.
In the late '70s, Obert and Grace sought for meaningful ways to distribute a portion of the profits from the O.C. Tanner Jewelry Company, one of the nation's largest manufacturing jewelry companies. They were advised by a lifelong friend, Sterling McMurrin, to set up a lecture series that could attract world-famous individuals to the world's premier institutions of learning. As a spin-off of this international program, a lecture series was established at Utah institutions that held special meaning for the Tanners, including SUU, where Grace attended college to become a teacher.
The lectureship at SUU is offered through the Grace A. Tanner Center for Human Values, which also sponsors the Tanner Distinguished Faculty Lecture and the Tanner Scholarship. The Tanner lecture series at SUU has been in existence for more than 20 years, attracting speakers of uncommon ability and international reputation, including Nobel Prize winners, Pulitzer Prize winners, English lords, philosophers, economists, scientists, attorneys, university presidents, statesmen, heads of religious institutions, members of the press, and a president of the United States.
Grace and Obert are committed to support of the Utah Shakespearean Festival. Their generosity made possible the construction of the Adams Memorial Theatre on campus- fashioned after Shakespeare's Globe Theatre in London which attracts visitors from all over the world, including film crews.
Grace and Obert Tanner are deeply respected and loved-not just for their generous support of the programs in education and the arts in Utah and in other parts of the world, but also for who they are-passionate, caring individuals who never lost sight of human values.
Their purpose has been to provide a forum in which to promote scholarly and scientific learning in the field of human values, embracing and advancing moral, artistic, intellectual, and spiritual values.
Dr. Eugene Woolf is a professor emeritus at SUU, and director of the Grace Adams Tanner Center for Human Values