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BLM, BHM, DEI, CRT: Alphabets Against American Amnesia

Michael Eric Dyson, one of the nation’s most renowned professors, gifted writers, inspiring preachers, knowledgeable lecturers and riveting media personalities, will present for The Tanner Lecture Series on Ethics, Citizenship and Public Responsibility. He is currently Distinguished University Professor at Vanderbilt University.

Given the polarization surrounding conversations about race in America, Dyson will explore how do we adequately respond to the crises and catastrophes occasioned by white backlash, resurgent white supremacy, and resilient white nationalism? Historical and contemporary forms of Black struggle offer instructive resistance to these socially malignant forces and position the contemporary debate about race in relation to preceding epochs of racial malaise and racist terror.

Dyson is also a writer of more than 20 books, including New York Times best sellers, "The Black Presidency: Barack Obama and the Politics of Race in America," and "Tears We Cannot Stop: A Sermon to White America," that was called by the New York Times, "one of the most frank and searing discussions on race.” His latest book, "Long Time Coming: Reckoning with Race in America," was heralded as Amazon’s Bestselling Book for 2020.


Friday, April 21, 2023 | 4 p.m.| Maxwell Auditorium

Previous Tanner Lectures

Constructive conversations about important issues

Phil Klay headshot and book cover

Citizenship in an Age of Perpetual Conflict

Phil Klay, United States Marine Corps Veteran and Author of "Redeployment" and "Missionaries", discussed the withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan, seemingly bringing a twenty-year war to an end, yet President Biden promised that we’d keep killing American enemies there. Klay continues that this created a strange situation for Americans, largely protected from the harsh consequences of war, and yet citizens of a country using lethal force across the globe. Americans generally find out about the extent of our involvement when U.S. soldiers die, leaving them to try and understand their citizenship and humanity, in relation to the killing done in our name. What does it mean to be a citizen of a country that is not at peace, but doesn’t seem to believe it’s at war?

Co-sponsored by the Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF) and SU Office of Veteran and Military Affairs (OVMA)

October 8, 2021

Reclaiming Trust in an Age of Misinformation

Marta Tellado, president and CEO of Consumer Reports, asks the question how do we, as consumers, tip back the scales of power and return the marketplace to one that is transparent, fair, just and safe and away from the monopolistic, opaque and biased direction currently trending?

March 24, 2021

Robert Shetterly

Americans Who Tell the Truth: Models of Courageous Citizenship

Robert Shetterly began “Americans Who Tell the Truth” in the early 2000s. He says the portraits have given him an opportunity to speak with children and adults throughout the U.S. about 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.

November 29, 2018

We Matter: Athletes and Activism

In this Tanner Lecture, Etan Thomas, a published poet, author and 11-year veteran of the NBA, shares his passion for mentoring, motivational speaking and civic engagement.

Thomas also discusses his book, "We Matter: Athletes and Activism," a collection of interviews of former NBA players who share their personal stories and opinions in an effort to encourage athletes to speak up.

February 26, 2018

Tanner Lecture on Ethics, Citizenship and Public Responsibility

Kenote Speaker
The Honorable Christine Todd Whitman, former U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator and former New Jersey Governor.

October 4, 2017

A Public Service Workforce for the Future


  • Andrew W. Cohen, Dr. Walter Montgomery and Marian Gruber Professor of History
  • Andrew Maxwell, former director of Policy and Innovation, City of Syracuse
  • Tina Nabatchi, professor of public administration and international affairs
  • David Sulek, vice president for Booz Allen Hamilton

October 4, 2017

Governance Challenges and the Future of a New Public Service


  • Dustin Brown, U.S. Office of Management & Budget, Executive Office of the President
  • Teresa Gerton, president and CEO, National Academy of Public Administration
  • The Hon. Sean O’Keefe, University Professor, Phanstiel Chair in Strategic Management & Leadership
  • The Hon. Christine Todd Whitman, former EPA Administrator, former New Jersey Governor
  • David Van Slyke, dean and Louis A. Bantle Chair in Business and Government Policy

October 4, 2017

Closing Remarks

Max Stier, president and CEO for The Partnership for Public Service.

October 4, 2017

The Athenian Oath and Political Leadership in America

Michael Nutter, former mayor of the City of Philadephia, speaks about how he came into public service and why the Athenian Oath is his guiding star for being a good public servant.

October 14, 2016

A Global Conversation

Madeleine Albright, former U.S. Secretary of State and Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient, discusses her 40-year career in international affairs and the current threats and challenges to U.S. foreign policy.

April 5, 2016

Ethical Leadership in Higher Education: Who Wants This Job Anymore?

Donna Shalala, Maxwell alumna, former U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services and former president of the University of Miami, speaks about her path to higher education and public service.

October 23, 2015

Public Responsibility and the Federal-State Disconnect

With Richard Ravitch, former Lieutenant Governor of New York State and former co-chair, with former Chairman of the Federal Reserve, Paul A. Volcker, of the State Budget Crisis Task Force.

October 10, 2014

Civility and Citizenship: Reinventing the Great Society

With Lincoln Chafee, former U.S. Senator and Governor of Rhode Island.

April 24, 2014

Entrepreneurship as a Tool for Social Change

With Jessica Jackley, visiting practitioner at Stanford University and venture partner with the Collaborative Fund.

March 18, 2014

Michael Sandel presenting in Maxwell auditorium

Markets, Morals and Civic Life

Michael Sandel, Anne T. and Robert M. Bass Professor of Government at Harvard University, and the nation’s leading public intellectual on issues of social justice and fairness, draws in audiences and challenges them to examine the moral and ethical assumptions underlying hotly debated political and social issues. He will discuss his latest bestseller, What Money Can’t Buy: The Moral Limits of Markets, explores the moral dilemmas facing a capitalistic society, and questions the role of markets in people’s lives.

October 24, 2012

Inaugural Tannner Lecture on Ethics, Citizenship and Public Responsibility

With Bill Bradley, former senator, presidential candidate, NBA Hall of Famer and author.

April 10, 2012

Dr. W. Lynn Tanner

Dr. W. Lynn Tanner

Dr. W. Lynn Tanner, founder and executive chairman of TEC Canada, a leadership development organization dedicated to accelerating the growth and development of outstanding twenty-first century leaders, 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.

Campbell Public Affairs Institute
306 Eggers Hall