01 Jul 2014

Bringing TED to SMU

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By Jim Young on June 29, 2014

High noon.  April 7, 2009.  Gloria’s on Greenville!  It all started there.  Geoffrey Orsak, then Dean of Engineering at SMU Lyle School of Engineering, attended TED 2009, his first TED Conference a month earlier. (I had attended my nineteenth.)
TED Curator Chris Anderson had announced at TED 2009 that TED was authorizing independently organized local TED-like events called TEDx.  The first TEDx ever would be held at University of Southern California in late March 2009.  Geoffrey and I thought that if USC could host such an event, then SMU could as well.  So, we began to plan TEDxSMU and TEDxKids @ SMU.

That afternoon, Geoffrey called Sharon Lyle, who was working in Austin, and invited her to come to Dallas and meet with him.  The following Monday, April 13, she had quit her job and moved to Dallas to become the Executive Director of TEDxSMU and TEDxKids@SMU.  Sharon, who at that time, had never attended a TED Conference, had just six months to plan and put on TEDxSMU and the first ever TEDx conference for youth, TEDxKids@SMU.  And…the rest is history!

Note from the Editor:  TEDx was created in the spirit of TED’s mission, “ideas worth spreading.”  It supports independent organizers who want to create a TED-like event in their own community. Today there are 7,450 organizers all over the world.   There have been 10,228 TEDx events held globally with 777 upcoming events.


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