About the Series
The Westminster Tanner-McMurrin Lectures on the history and philosophy of religion were established at Westminster College of Salt Lake City in 1987 as a means of bringing major scholars—in the fields of history and philosophy of religion—to deliver public lectures and conduct seminars on basic issues in religious thought and practice.
The lecturers are appointed for the national and international recognition of their scholarly achievements without regard to ethnic, national, religious, or ideological considerations.
The lectures are open to the public without charge. The lecturer may conduct seminars in which others who have special interests relating to the subject of the lecture participate by invitation. They are published and made available to libraries and the general public, or they will be published in electronic form and made available, free of charge, for reading by any interested person.
The lecture is administered by the President of Westminster College, who chairs a select committee which is responsible for lectureship policies and the selection of the lecturers. The Lectureship is funded in perpetuity by an endowment gift from the late Dr. Obert Clark Tanner, formerly professor emeritus of philosophy at the University of Utah, and the late Grace Adams Tanner. The Lectureship is named in honor of the late Dr. Sterling M. McMurrin who was the E. E. Eriksen Distinguished Professor Emeritus at the University of Utah, and a former US commissioner of education. Dr. McMurrin was a trustee emeritus of Westminster College and a former colleague of Dr. Tanner in the Department of Philosophy (University of Utah).
The Lecture series was inaugurated in the Fall of 1989 by Professor Martin Marty (University of Chicago, Emeritus). More recently, lecturers in the series have included Rene Girard, Michael Walzer, Diana Eck, Arvind Sharma, Michael Doyle, Elaine Pagels, Seyla Benhabib, Rabbi David Novak, and Sr. Helen Prejean.
Over the past 15 years, encouraged and advised by Bishop Carolyn Tanner Irish, daughter of O.C. and Grace Tanner, Dr. Michael Popich has expanded the scope of the endowed lecture series to include other occasions of public discourse as worthy of support by the lecture endowment. We trust that in diversifying our support for other forms of public discourse as we have, and as these are described above, we are still adhering to the spirit of the endowment so graciously provided by Obert and Grace Tanner. Support has been provided for events open to the public at the University of Utah, Utah Valley University, and Salt Lake Community College.