“Carolyn Tanner Irish is an extraordinary woman of amazing breadth and depth,” DSU President Dr. Stephen D. Nadauld said. “We are fortunate to have Carolyn on our campus and I am sure our graduates will take heed to her counsel as they take that next step in their lives.”
Carolyn Tanner Irish was born in Salt Lake City on April 14, 1940, and was raised there in a large LDS family. She attended public schools and was active in church and school programs, the arts, the care of animals, and social service. In her last year of high school she lived and studied in New Zealand as an American Field Service exchange student.
Bishop Irish began her higher education at Stanford University, transferring to the University of Michigan after her marriage in 1960. She was graduated in 1962 with high honors in Philosophy, and as a member of the Phi Kappa Phi Honors Society. She later received an M.Litt (Master of Letters) degree in moral philosophy from Oxford University (1968), and an M.Div (Master of Divinity) degree, cum laude from the Virginia Theological Seminary (1983). She holds several honorary doctoral degrees from Episcopal seminaries, Utah colleges and universities, and has received a number of community awards.
As an ordained leader in the Episcopal Church, Bishop Irish has served city, suburban, and rural congregations, and was appointed as an archdeacon in the Diocese of Michigan. She later served on the staff of the Shalem Institute for Spiritual Formation and the Washington National Cathedral.
Consecrated and seated as Tenth Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Utah in 1996, she had oversight of 22 congregations and other ministry programs until her retirement in 2010. She is a public advocate for environmental causes, just immigration reform, and the safety and care of children.
The Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce honored Irish with the Giant In Our City Award in 2010 for her outstanding community service and commitment to education and the arts, as well as humanitarian and environmental causes. On the occasion of the death of Nelson Mandela in 2013, Irish initiated an opportunity for the people of Utah to honor him by designing a celebration of his life at the Cathedral Church of St. Mark in Salt Lake City.
She currently chairs the Board of Directors of the O.C. Tanner Co. in Salt Lake City, and serves on the board of the Utah Nature Conservancy. She is an Honorary Fellow of Linacre College, Oxford. She and her husband, The Rev. Dr. Frederick Quinn, have six adult children and eight grandchildren.