About the Tanner Lecture Series

What does it mean to be an ethical citizen? What do the needs for public responsibility demand from us, whether we work in the private or the public sectors, and whether we are entry-level employees or top leaders? The Tanner Lecture Series on Ethics, Citizenship, and Public Responsibility provides a public forum for exploring these questions in provocative and challenging ways. Speakers are leaders in their fields who have wrestled with these questions and demonstrated—through their life and work—that generative efforts can enrich both our private and public lives. Collectively the lectures aim to stimulate audiences to re-envision their own responsibilities in different, and at times deliberately unsettling ways—not merely to inform, but to engage and provoke, and to leave a lasting impression that influences future behavior. The Tanner Lecture Series seeks to expand horizons and spark new conversations about the problems and opportunities we collectively face as citizens of nations and of the world.

The series has been generously endowed by Dr. W. Lynn Tanner, founder, CEO, and chairman of TEC Canada, a leadership development organization dedicated to accelerating the growth and development of outstanding twenty-first century leaders. Dr. Tanner received his Ph.D. from the Maxwell School in 1975, where his studies focused on organizational change and development in the public and private sectors.


Upcoming and Recent Events

Americans Who Tell the Truth: Models of Courageous Citizenship

November 29, 2018 | 7:30 p.m. EST | Setnor Auditorium, Crouse College

Full exhibition: November 26 through December 14 | Panasci Lounge, Schine Student Center

Shetterly_Robert_headshotRobert Shetterly taught himself drawing, printmaking and painting after graduating from Harvard College with a degree in English literature. His work appears in collections across the United States and Europe. Along with his “Americans Who Tell the Truth” series, Shetterly is well known for his series of 70 painted etchings based on William Blake’s “Proverbs of Hell” and for another series of 50 painted etchings reflecting on the metaphor of the Annunciation.

He began “Americans Who Tell the Truth” in the early 2000s. A book by the same name and featuring his first 50 portraits was published in 2008. Shetterly says the portraits have given him an opportunity to speak with children and adults throughout the United States about “the necessity of dissent in a democracy, the obligations of citizenship, sustainability, U.S. history, and how democracy cannot function if politicians don’t tell the truth, if the media don’t report it, and if the people don’t demand it.”

Shetterly will bring the full collection of his masterwork portrait series “Americans Who Tell the Truth: Models of Courageous Citizenship,” marking the first time all 235 pieces will be displayed publicly in one location. Combining art and other media, the series “offers resources to inspire a new generation of engaged Americans who will act for the common good, our communities, and the Earth.”

The collection will be displayed in Panasci Lounge from November 26 through December 14. On November 29th, the artist will take part in an on-stage conversation with two of his subjects—Richard Bowen and Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha.

For additional information, you may contact Sunju Raybeck at sraybeck@syr.edu or 315.443.5850. 

Support for Shetterly’s appearance and the exhibition of his portrait series is provided in part by the Syracuse University Lecture Series.



Etan Thomas, Former SU Basketball and NBA Star

Monday, February 26, 2018 | 7:00 p.m. EST

Hendricks Chapel


A published poet, author, and 11-year veteran of the NBA, Thomas has released a new book, " We Matter: Athletes and Activism," a collection of interviews by former NBA players that share their personal stories and opinions in an effort to encourage athletes to speak up. As this spring's Tanner Lecture speaker, Thomas shared his passion for mentoring, motivational speaking, and civic engagement.

Thomas' writings have appeared in The Washington Post, Huffington Post, CNN, ESPN, Hoopshype.com and Slamonline. He is a special correspondent for "Hot Topics" on MSNBC and co-hosts a weekly radio show, The Collision, where sports and politics collide. Thomas has been called an inspiration for young athletes, parents, and avid sports fans. He brings a positive message to all and uses his voice to address social justice. He was honored for his social justice advocacy with the 2010 National Basketball Players Association Community Contribution Award.