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2012 Archives

TEDxSMU Hilltop coming Sepember 21

Featuring presentations by students, faculty, staff and alumni

August 27, 2012

TEDxSMUDALLAS (SMU) – TEDxSMU Hilltop is coming to SMU’s Bob Hope Theater on Friday, Sept. 21 – a free, SMU-only mashup of performance, technology and great talks that will spotlight “Ideas Worth Spreading” right here on campus.

The Lyle School of Engineering and Meadows School of the Arts will join to present high-energy talks and performances that tap the talents of the SMU community. 

The half-day conference will run from 1 – 5 p.m., punctuated by a half-hour conversation break in the middle of the afternoon.  By limiting the audience to the SMU community and staging the event in a campus theater, TEDxSMU is bringing home the kind of event that started with the first TEDxSMU conference in 2009.

TEDxSMU Hilltop is open to everyone on the SMU campus – students, faculty and staff – but it’s first-come, first served. Register here and bring your SMU ID to the event.

The program’s theme is re:THINK, and will feature presentations from four students, four faculty members, four staff members and four SMU alumni.  While the program is nearly booked, the TEDxSMU tradition incorporates the opportunity to participate from the stage. Nominate yourself or suggest a speaker here.

Confirmed presenters so far include:

  Jonathon Wentz, the SMU student equestrian who may still be shaking off jet lag after representing the United States in London at the 2012 Paralympics in a competition he describes as “horse ballet.” Jonathan Wentz
  Hank Hammett, the SMU Opera Theater Director who will explain the need to take opera out of the box to make it relevant, based on his unique “Opera in a Box” program. Hank Hammett
  Brandon Lazarus, a graduate student in the Perkins School of Theology who thinks networking ought to be about bettering the community instead of ourselves. Brandon Lazarus

TEDxSMU premiered on the SMU campus in 2009 at Caruth Auditorium, one of the first university events licensed as an independently organized “TEDx” event by the nonprofit organization that hosts the TED conference annually in Long Beach. People who have never attended TED or a TEDx event routinely embrace the concept of “Ideas Worth Spreading” by tapping into the thousands of TEDtalks available online.  

Response to the first TEDxSMU was strong enough to require a larger venue for subsequent years. Tickets to TEDxSMU, scheduled for Dec. 1 this year at the new Dallas City Performance Hall, are limited and priced at $150 to cover the production costs.

"We identified an opportunity to reconnect with the University community by bringing the show back to campus for an SMU-only event," said Marc Christensen, dean ad-interim at the Lyle School.  "Our goals are simple: make the conference more accessible to the SMU community both in terms of physical access and financial commitment, highlight our own talented students, faculty, staff and alumni and spark meaningful conversation on campus."   

TEDxSMU also hosts two other avenues for TED-like experiences on the SMU campus:

TEDxSMU Wednesdays are free, weekly, open-to-the-public brown bag lunch presentations where participants watch and discuss a TEDtalk from the archives.  Check the website for the talk topic and location each week at–-fall-series/.  The group will meet every Wednesday during the fall semester from noon to 1 p.m.

Current SMU students may apply through Sept. 10 to be considered as a Carole and Jim Young  Fellow. TEDxSMU will select up to two students from each of the seven academic colleges at SMU. These students will participate in TEDxKids @SMU on Nov. 30, TEDxSMU on Dec. 1, and ongoing programming throughout the 2012-2013 academic year. Students can apply at and those selected will be announced Sept. 14.

TEDxSMU programming ranges from personal discussions of physical and mental journeys to demonstrations of high-tech gadgetry and inspirational musical performances and great visuals are the common denominator. Modeled on the annual TED (Technology, Engineering and Design) conference in Long Beach, Calif., TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience.

About TEDx, x = independently organized event

In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x =independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized. (Subject to certain rules and regulations.)

About TED

TED is a nonprofit organization devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. Started as a four-day conference in California 26 years ago, TED has grown to support those world-changing ideas with multiple initiatives. At TED, the world's leading thinkers and doers are asked to give the talk of their lives in 18 minutes. Talks are then made available, free, at TED speakers have included Bill Gates, Jane Goodall, Elizabeth Gilbert, Sir Richard Branson, Benoit Mandelbrot, Philippe Starck, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Isabel Allende and former UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown. Two major TED events are held each year: The TED Conference takes place every spring in Long Beach, California (along with a parallel conference, TEDActive, in Palm Springs), and TEDGlobal is held each summer in Edinburgh, Scotland.

TED’s media initiatives include, where new TEDTalks are posted daily; the new TED Conversations, enabling broad conversations among TED fans; and the Open Translation Project, which provides subtitles and interactive transcripts as well as the ability for any TEDTalk to be translated by volunteers worldwide.

TED has established the annual TED Prize, where exceptional individuals with a wish to change the world are given the opportunity to put their wishes into action; TEDx, which offers individuals or groups a way to host local, self-organized events around the world; and the TED Fellows program, helping world-changing innovators from around the globe to become part of the TED community and, with its help, amplify the impact of their remarkable projects and activities.

For information about TED's upcoming conferences, visit

Follow TED on Twitter at, or on Facebook at

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