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In September 2008, the SIUC University Honors program hosted Buddhist scholar and author Robert Thurman as a part of the Charles D. Tenney Distinguished Lecture Series. Thurman, a former Tibetan Buddhist monk and currently the Jey Tsong Khappa Professor of Indo-Tibetan Buddhist Studies at Columbia University, gave the lecture "The Dalai Lama's Ethical Revolution and the World Crisis." He also signed copies of his latest book, Why the Dalai Lama Matters. During his visit to SIUC, Thurman talked with WSIU's Jak Tichenor about his efforts to preserve and promote Tibetan civilization and culture. Thurman is a co-founder with Richard Gere of the Tibet House in New York City and is the father of five children, including actress Uma Thurman. In 1997, Time magazine chose Thurman as one of its 25 most influential Americans.