Media Advisory: TEDxWakeForestU: Defining our future

What will define our future? Our ability to share humor through social media? Our quest to use Google to escape memorization? Or the impact our consumer society will have on our environment? These are the kinds of questions the second TEDxWakeForestU event on Feb. 23 will answer with nine unique speakers. TEDxWakeForestU, an independently organized event licensed by TED, will be held from 12-5 p.m. in Wait Chapel and is open to the public.

The TEDx program allows individuals to organize community events, which advance TED’s mission of providing the public with some of the most cutting-edge ideas and “ideas worth spreading.”

“We are fortunate to have a special agreement with TEDx that allows us to fill Wait Chapel with more than 1,000 people,” said Jake Graham, one of the lead Wake Forest student organizers. “Most TEDx events are designed for around 100 people, but we’re hoping the Piedmont-Triad really turns out to hear these inspiring talks about our future.”

Nine speakers will give TEDx talks at the Wake Forest event. The conference is divided into three sections. Unlike a typical lecture on a college campus, TEDx speakers are limited to 18 minutes. This short video explains a little bit more about this year’s event.

“All our speakers offer thought-provoking ideas and inspiration,” said Polly Black, director of the Center for Innovation, Creativity and Entrepreneurship at Wake Forest. “Most TED talks are entertaining and highly accessible. They are engaging with the audience and designed to spark interest in a new way of thinking.”

Speakers at TEDxWakeForestU include:

  • Ricky Van Veen, an alumnus and entrepreneur who combined his love for comedy and technology to create the highly successful website College Humor in his Wake Forest dorm room.
  • Dr. Mark Bauerlein teaches English at Emory University. His latest book “The Dumbest Generation”, takes the position that cyberculture is turning today’s youth into a society of know-nothings.
  • J. Henry Fair is a photojournalist known for challenging the status quo with his aesthetic yet provocative photos. His project, Industrial Scars, explores the impact of our consumer society on the world around us.

Tickets for TEDxWakeForestU are available now. General public tickets are $10; Wake Forest University students, faculty and staff may attend at no charge, but must register online.

“The success of last year’s event with 1,400 attendees made us want to make this year’s TEDxWakeForestU even better,” said Christina Oelsner, another one of the student organizers.  “We can’t wait to share the exciting ideas from these speakers with the surrounding community.”

Learn more about TEDxWakeForestU on our websiteFacebook page or Twitter. Follow along with the hashtag #TEDxWFU.

About Wake Forest University
Wake Forest University combines the best traditions of a small liberal arts college with the resources of a large research university. Founded in 1834, the school is located in Winston-Salem, N.C. Learn more about Wake Forest at

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

Categories: Media Advisory