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TEDxClevelandStateUniversity Asks: As Reality Shifts Are you Ready?

Talks will provide insights on societal and technological transformations impacting our world

Cleveland State University’s third annual TEDx event seeks to explore the tremendous transformations that are impacting numerous aspects of society and literally changing reality underneath our feet. A host of innovative speakers will take on these seismic shifts in a host of fields, including race relations, health care, 3D printing, the role of women in society, and the changing face of history, posing new questions and answers for how government, business, individuals and society as a whole can respond to our transforming world.

TEDxClevelandStateUniversity, a licensed, independent TED event, will be held from 2 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., Friday, October 21 in CSU’s Waetjen Auditorium, 2121 Euclid Ave. Tickets go on sale September 8 and VIP, general admission and student prices are available. It will feature a series of 13 TED talks followed by an interactive reception with entertainment, scientific exhibits and hands-on displays. Speakers will include Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Connie Schultz, Tony-nominated writer and blues musician Mississippi Charles Bevel, Grammy-nominated songwriter and prominent intellectual property attorney Mark Avsec, Elizabeth Pugh, general counsel for the Library of Congress, and Akram Boutros, president and CEO of MetroHealth System of Cleveland.

“TEDxClevelandStateUniversity is an exciting and rewarding program that brings together some of the brightest minds in our community,” notes Ronald M. Berkman, President of CSU. “Together they will spark thoughtful and imaginative dialogue and interaction that will inspire all who attend.”

TED talks are no more than 18 minutes in length and focus on a singular idea or innovation with the goal of inspiring the audience to take action. This year’s TEDxClevelandStateUniversity, the third annual event, will focus on the theme of Reality Shifts: Are You Ready? In addressing this theme, Schultz, a nationally syndicated columnist who won the Pulitzer for commentary in 2005, will discuss how women over 50 are no longer invisible in society and continue to make contributions in a way previous generations were unable to accomplish. Bevel, nominated for a Tony for co-creating the acclaimed 1999 Broadway musical It Ain't Nothin' But the Blues, will deconstruct the continued negative racial impact of the “One Drop Rule,” which asserts that any person with even one black ancestor, or one drop of black blood, is considered black.

In addition, Avsec, who was a member of the bands Wild Cherry and Donnie Iris and the Cruisers and co-wrote the hit song “Ah Leah,” will discuss how the technological revolution in the music industry caused by file sharing is now being mirrored in the manufacturing sector by the rise of 3D printing. Pugh, who has served for 16 years as the top lawyer for the largest library in the world, will provide insights on how technology has allowed for the rise of “personal history” and how this is transforming both how we collect our historical heritage as well as what our history actually looks like. Boutros, a national leader in health care administration, will argue that love and good health care are not mutually exclusive concepts and that providers need to develop a greater sense of empathy and compassion to truly meet the needs of their patients.

The 2016 line-up of speakers will also include:

  • Honey Bell-Bey, youth advocate and founder and director of The Distinguished Gentlemen of Spoken Word
  • Fred Bidwell, noted Cleveland entrepreneur, philanthropist, and art collector
  • Thomas Maridada II, president and CEO of BRIGHT New Leaders for Ohio Schools
  • Roberta Muehlheim, assistant curator of vertebrate zoology, Cleveland Museum of Natural History
  • Andrea Muto, journalist, lawyer and international development consultant.
  • Cody Peacock, solar energy advocate and entrepreneur
  • John Perrine, saxophonist, composer and chair of the CSU Music Department
  • Ron Soeder, president of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Cleveland

Their talks will discuss topics as varied as technological disruption, gun violence, improvisation and the central role amphibians play in our environment. For a complete list of talks and full speaker biographies visit