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TEDx conference returns to Wilmington University

Dan Young

Dan Young

By Robert Kalesse
Special to Delaware Business Times

For the second straight year, Dan Young, a Delaware Business Times 40 Under 40 honoree, is bringing the principles of one of the world’s most powerful and popular conferences – TED – to the Wilmington University campus in New Castle.

Titled “TEDxWilmingtonUniversity,” the one-day conference scheduled for May 8 serves as an independent Technology, Entertainment, and Design (TED) event, following the “ideas worth spreading” mantra that has made TED one of the most successful nonprofit, one-off events around the world.

An assistant professor in the business administration department at Wilmington, Young said the speakers for 2015 would once again talk on a variety of topics, the goal of which is to create an experience that will excite students and engage their creative minds.

“Last year’s event was a great success, and it laid the groundwork for what I expect to be (another success this year),” Young said. “These TEDx talks give us the opportunity, as an academic community, to get out there and look for speakers to talk about what’s important.”

Topics this year include women’s empowerment, President Barack Obama’s social media strategy in the 2008 election and how it can be used for personal branding, and a look at the importance of the humanities in a career-driven education.

Kate Cottle, assistant professor and humanities and literature department chair, said having events like TEDx talks at a commuter school increases the overall community feeling and connection between students and their school.

“Having something that people can view from a distance in their own time frame, but be enormously proud of, is a part of Wilmington’s modus operandi,” Cottle said. “We want to provide people with autonomy, engagement, and a spirited dialogue about ideas that impact them.”

Jennifer Iqbal, a doctoral candidate in business administration, was one of 100 students selected to attend last year’s TEDx. She is on the volunteer board for 2015, and is looking forward to being inspired by this year’s speakers.

“For the most part, the talks are about helping others, embracing differences, new ways of thinking, and being open-minded,” Iqbal said. “Wilmington University is big on innovation and leadership, so TEDx is perfect for bringing all of those aspects full circle.”

When Young applied for the license to host a TED event, he was in his first year at Wilmington University. But the administration gave him the go-ahead, and it has now become one of the school’s key events.

According to Vice President and Associate Professor Dr. Angela C. Suchanic, the 2014 talks were so successful that the bar is now set high for the university’s annual TEDx event. This year’s theme is “Engaging Excellence Everywhere,” which, Suchanic said, just happens to be part of Wilmington University’s mission statement.

“If we can generate the same energy and excitement among our participants and excellence in our presenters as we had last year, and even increase both,
we will have achieved our goal,” Suchanic said. ♦

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