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About the Center

The Tanner Humanities Center was founded in 1988 as the Utah Humanities Center in the College of Humanities at the University of Utah. In 1995, it was endowed through a generous gift from the family foundation of Obert C. Tanner, renowned entrepreneur, philanthropist, and Professor Emeritus of Philosophy, and renamed for Obert and his wife Grace.

In Fall 2008, the Tanner Humanities Center moved from the University of Utah’s Carlson Hall to the Carolyn Tanner Irish Humanities Building. This move enabled the center to house administrative and fellowship offices in one area, offer convenient and professional meeting and conference spaces, and cultivate close relationships with the College of Humanities and other schools, colleges, centers, departments, and programs with its central campus location.

Professor of History Bob Goldberg was appointed director on July 1, 2006. At that time, Dean Robert Newman tasked Goldberg with raising the center’s profile by supporting humanities faculty and graduate student research, developing humanities programming, increasing revenue sources and building a donor pool, and expanding the humanities network on campus and in the community.


For over twenty-seven years, the Tanner Humanities Center has promoted humanities inquiry and engagement by supporting innovative scholarly projects and creating opportunities for interaction among scholars, students, and lifelong learners. In particular, we offer research support, public lectures and programs, and faculty outreach. Our activities reflect a vision of the humanities as not only relevant, timely, stimulating, and cutting-edge, but also essential for developing critical thinking, tolerance, and respect at the University of Utah and in our community.

Four compelling principles guide the Tanner Humanities Center in achieving its mission:

I. Promoting Interdisciplinarity 
We are committed to interdisciplinary research, collaboration, and problem solving within the humanities and with subject areas where a humanities perspective adds valuable insight including medical ethics, globalization, environmental humanities, religious studies, gender studies, digital humanities, colonialism, and health and wellness.

II. Encouraging Diversity
We value diverse voices and projects and connect with a range of campus groups and organizations in the wider community to foster diversity. We consider diversity as a criterion when selecting internal and external fellows, faculty members who will participate in our Professors Off Campus program, and Gateway to Learning Educator Workshops for Utah’s primary and secondary school teachers. We also support diversity in race, class, gender, sexuality, and religion in selecting speakers to lecture on significant humanities topics at the University of Utah.

III. Fostering Community Engagement
We are committed to cultivating lively and inclusive dialogue about the humanities beyond the university environment. Since 2006, we have raised the level of humanities awareness and engagement in our state and region and nurtured an environment for diverse discussions with our public lecture series, talks at the Tanner, research interest groups, conferences, panels, film screenings, and artistic performances.

IV. Increasing the Visibility of the Humanities
We have developed a strong reputation for our research fellowships, public lectures and programs, and faculty outreach. We plan to continue to enhance and communicate our role in shaping campus, local, regional, and national humanities research and conversations.

To learn more
Research Fellowships / Lectures and Programs / Latter-Day Saints Studies Initiative / Support The Center

Last Updated: 2/22/19