Azusa Pacific University students will have a unique opportunity to see an independent TEDx live on campus with various professors presenting their research and ideas. The event is scheduled for April 7 and will be held in the UTCC.

Dr. Brooke Van Dam, interim director of the Center for Research on Ethics and Values and assistant professor of communication studies, started the conversation last June with the head of research at APU.

“It had to go through the Academic Cabinet first. I proposed it and then I had to get the license from the TED organization, and that took about eight weeks,” Van Dam said. “This has been in the works for a while. But until I got that license, I couldn’t say anything about it, and we couldn’t start planning it.”

One hundred tickets were made available to students, staff and faculty. In order to get tickets, students had to apply February 16–20 or be nominated by a staff member to attend the TEDx event.

“It is a great opportunity to be part of something as a student that has become a platform for intentional, thought-provoking conversation.” said Eliana Tarazon, a senior business management and social work major. “Meaningful conversation is how things happen, ideas spark, and change that matters occurs.”

This is not the only way for students to view the discussion. Live streaming will be available on the day of the event for those who are not attending in person.

“We are encouraging professors to turn on the live stream if they have class during that time. We are going to try to put together some viewing parties in the common areas so that students can get together and be a part of it,” Van Dam said.

According to Van Dam, the event is set to have three sections, with 20-minute breaks in between. Van Dam and Dr. Ryan Montague, assistant professor of communication studies, are hosting the event.

Each speaker is allotted an 18-minute time frame for a presentation. According to Van Dam, this window of time allows presenters to hone in on their topic.

Among the selected speakers for the talk is Dr. John M. Thornton, Leung Chair of Accounting Ethics. His presentation is titled “Filthy Rich.”

“Most people think rich people are born that way. Truth is, they probably weren’t. But instead of asking how to get rich, we should be asking why.'” Thornton said.

Without giving too much away, he discussed how college students should recognize where they are financially, which is essentially flat broke, when looking at the larger perspective, including debt.

Currently there are four confirmed speakers ranging from various departments on campus. Speakers include Leung Chair of Accounting Ethics Dr. John M. Thornton, interim chair of Art and Design Department G. James Daichendt, assistant professor in the department of practical theology Dr. Michael Bruner, Executive Director for the Student Center for Reconciliation and Diversity Edgar Barron, and associate dean in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Dr Ryan T. Hartwig. More speakers will be announced in the coming weeks.

TEDx events are a branch of the TED organization allowing people to independently organize their own program. The individuals who request to have a TEDx event must get a license.

To follow the event and updates, visit the official website at You can also find more information on the organization’s Facebook and Twitter pages, as well as updates for giveaways as the event approaches.