John S. Tanner
John S. Tanner was the tenth president of Brigham Young University–Hawaii. He assumed the presidency in July 2015 after a thirty-year career as a professor and administrator at Brigham Young University in Provo and concluded his presidency in July 2020.
Dr. John S. Tanner Biography
University President from July 2015 through June 2020
John S. Tanner was the tenth president of Brigham Young University–Hawaii. He assumed the presidency in July 2015 after a thirty-year career as a professor and administrator at Brigham Young University in Provo. At BYU, President Tanner served as Academic Vice President, Associate Academic Vice President, English Department Chair, and Professor of English, with an emphasis in English Renaissance and Religious Literature.
Under his tenure, BYU–Hawaii moved from a four-college structure to seven faculty units. BYU–Hawaii also moved to a modular curriculum, called the Holokai, meaning voyage or journey, which requires students to complete a major and two minors or certificates rather than previous general education requirements. Physical improvements that began during his presidency include replacing the General Classroom Building and cafeteria and adding additional dorm rooms, the Hale Courtyard, and the Hale Pavillion. The university ohana loved his Pacific Ponderings, a series of articles that infused local Hawaii history, secular and spiritual knowledge, with personal experiences to help inform and inspire the university.
Prior to his appointment as BYU–Hawaii president, President Tanner had been serving in the Sunday School general presidency (2014-2015) and as president of the Brazil São Paulo South Mission (2011-2014) for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
President Tanner earned his bachelor of arts degree in English from BYU in 1974 and his doctorate in English from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1980. He began his teaching career at Florida State University but soon joined the BYU faculty in 1982 as an assistant professor. He also spent time as a Fulbright professor in Brazil.
President Tanner is the author of several books, including an award-winning study of Milton and Kierkegaard, and numerous articles and essays. He has also written a number of hymn texts, including one that appears in the Church’s hymnal.
President Tanner is married to Susan W. Tanner, former Young Women general president of the Church (2002-2008). They have five children and twenty-two grandchildren.
Tanner BYUH Photo Gallery