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The University of Denver Celebrates Radical Collaboration at TEDxDU

Unlikely groups, ideas and inspiration come together on May 13

DENVER —Imagine cells that can tell a story, words that bite and blinding flashes of light to power the world and fuel positive change. With a theme of “radical collaboration,” the University of Denver’s TEDxDU event will showcase this mash-up of unlikely ideas, inspiration and research. The sold-out event can be watched online live at between 1 p.m. and 6 p.m. on Friday, May 13.

“Using a bold mix of humor, science, technology, music and more, the TEDxDU event will feature a combination of DU students, alumni and faculty, along with other innovators who are taking action to improve the world,” Robert Coombe, chancellor of the University of Denver, says. “We envision TEDxDU as a gigantic collaboration engine to share our commitment of improving the human condition.”

Talks and performances include:

Morehshin Allahyari, alumna, artist and art activist and the co-founder/organizer of IRUS art, an intercultural collaborative art show between artists in Iran and the US.

Jeff Bi, co-founder and CEO of the one of the largest aseptic packaging companies in China. Bi, a DU alum, has a plan for sustainable forests.

Todd Blankenship, a DU biologist studying how cells communicate with each other.

Amanda Boxtel and Eythor Bender, co-founder of Challenge Aspen, a recreational program for people with disabilities. Eythor is CEO of Berkeley Bionics, which augments humans with “wearable robots.” Together, they demonstrate a bionic device that lets people with paralysis regain mobility.

John Common and Blinding Flashes of Light, while Common’s main gig is music, he also highlights the people who design his record covers, photograph beautiful images, make movies and a whole lot more. A collaborator’s collaborator.

Mick Ebeling, working with a team of collaborators, Ebeling has created a device to give those trapped by paralysis freedom to express themselves.

Rabbi Ted Falcon, Pastor Don Mackenzie and Imam Jamal Rahman, collectively known as The Interfaith Amigos.

Temple Grandin, TED speaker, subject of an Emmy Award-winning HBO movie, autism advocate and innovative thinker.

Jose Guerrero, DU student by day, award-winning slam poet by night.

Chris Hill, current dean of the Josef Korbel School of International Studies at DU and former US Ambassador to Iraq, with a few stories of radical collaboration to share.

The Lamont Percussion Ensemble, an energetic group from DU’s Lamont School of Music.

Tor Myhren, chief creative officer at Grey Advertising with an uncanny ability to keep pace with our culture.

Ramona Pierson, neuroscientist, educator and self-described data geek, committed to providing the best educational resources students and teachers.

Andrew Steward, DU student taking a bold stance in support of those with mental health issues.

Martha Symko-Davies, DU alumna and head of the photo-voltaic incubator program at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).

Richard Voyles, DU professor, roboticist, search & rescue expert and “Terminator” fan, with a radical vision for the future of robots.

John Winsor, founder and CEO of Victors & Spoils, the world’s first creative agency built on crowdsourcing principles.

In addition to the TEDxDU speakers, Hilary Blair will be back for the second year in a row as the TEDxDU emcee.  DU alum and comedian, Rob Gleeson, will host the TEDxDUActive simulcast event at Driscoll Ballroom.

All the TEDxDU speaker bios can be found or follow TEDxDU on Twitter and Facebook.


About DU – The University of Denver is committed to improving the human condition and engaging students and faculty in tackling the major issues of our day. DU ranks among the top 100 national universities in the U.S. For additional information, go to

About TEDx – In the spirit of “ideas worth spreading,” TED has created TEDx.  TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience.  Our event is called TEDxDU, where x = independently organized TED event.  At TEDxDU, TEDTalks video and live speakers will combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group.  The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events, including ours, are self-organized.

About TED – TED is a nonprofit organization devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading.  Started as a four-day conference in California 25 years ago, TED has grown to support those world-changing ideas with multiple initiatives.  The annual TED Conference invites the world’s leading thinkers and doers to speak for 18 minutes.  Their talks are then made available, free, at  TED speakers have included Bill Gates, Al Gore, Jane Goodall, Elizabeth Gilbert, Sir Richard Branson, Nandan Nilekani, Philippe Starck, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Isabel Allende and UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown.  The annual TED Conference takes place in Long Beach, California, with simulcast in Palm Springs; TEDGlobal is held each year in Oxford, UK.  TED’s media initiatives include, where new TEDTalks are posted daily, 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 TEDFellows 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.

Follow TED on Twitter at, or on Facebook at

TEDGlobal 2011, “The Stuff of Life,” will be held July 11-15, 2011, in Edinburgh, Scotland. TED2011, “The Rediscovery of Wonder,” was held February 28-March 4, 2011, in Long Beach, California, with the TEDActive simulcast in Palm Springs, California.

Media Contact:  Kim DeVigil

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