x = independently organized TED event

Theme: This or That

This event occurred on
March 27, 2020
Abilene, Texas
United States

Division and opposition seem to define modern life. In a world where everything from politics to pop culture sets us against each another, finding ways to approach opposing viewpoints and engage ideas we disagree with is more important than ever. This year’s TEDxACU theme, “This or That,” challenges speakers and audience members to consider how the polarization around us shapes our thoughts, actions, and values – and perhaps more importantly, where we go from here.

Make plans now to join us for TEDxACU 2020 on Friday, March 27th for an evening of ideas, entertainment, and rethinking our divided world.

Tickets are now on sale at

Fulks Theatre
Abilene Christian University
Abilene, Texas, 79601
United States
Event type:
University (What is this?)
See more ­T­E­Dx­A­C­U events


Speakers may not be confirmed. Check event website for more information.

Anthony Orsini

Neonatologist and Level II Medical Director, Neonatal ICU Winner Palmer Hospital
Dr. Anthony Orsini has been a physician and board certified-neonatologist for over two decades. Early in his career, he was profoundly impacted by discovering that even the most successful and well-respected physicians often struggled with their communication skills, an experience that led to a 25 year commitment to helping doctors form trusting relationships with their patients. In his TEDxACU talk, Anthony will explain how a doctor and patient’s human connection based on mutual respect is a fundamental element of healthcare, empowering audience members to take control of their role in a complex healthcare system by communicating well and building trust from the very first conversation.

Bobby W. Austin

President, Neighborhood Associates Corporation
For over thirty years, Dr. Bobby William Austin has worked as a sociologist, author, educator, and CEO of national nonprofits to strengthen the social fabric of urban communities. His research as the Director of the National Taskforce on African American Men and Boys led him to develop philanthropic programs that impacted 17,000 African American men and boys in the US. In his TEDxACU talk, Bobby will challenge our focus on the things that divide us by explaining the importance of seeking connection with others through public kinship -- a platform for moving forward through sharing experiences, being present in our interactions, and participating in civic storytelling.

Chris Heuertz

Founding Partner and Author, Gravity Center
Chris spent nearly three decades in community organizing and international humanitarian work before co-founding Gravity, a Center for Contemplative Activism in 2012. He’s authored five books, including the award-winning and best-selling The Sacred Enneagram. In his TEDxACU talk, Chris will tackle the challenge of overviewing the history of the enneagram, discussing all nine types, and explaining how understanding the enneagram can help us gain a deeper understanding of belonging, wholeness, and community -- all in just 18 minutes.

DiArron Morrison

Graduate Student and Instructor, Abilene Christian University
DiArron Morrison is an interdisciplinary scholar whose work centers around how religion and communication converge to create liberating action in the world. More specifically, he studies Black and Christian rhetoric that disclose practical applications of liberation. In his TEDxACU talk, DiArron will contextualize liberation within contemporary society’s ongoing conversation surrounding diversity and inclusion, seeking to uncover how liberation can provide answers to institutional prejudice and discrimination that diversity and inclusion alone are incapable of achieving.

Kyler Shumway

Doctor of Clinical Psychology, Deep Eddy Psychotherapy
Kyler maintains an active psychotherapy practice while researching the impact of psychotherapy on the human brain. And all of this professional experience fuels his mission to share how understanding psychology can provide strategies to end bullying. His TEDxACU talk will explain how the aggression and rejection many people project in responding to bullies often creates a rift that does little more than perpetuate existing cycles of hate. To tackle this problem, he will challenge audience members to eradicate bullying by actively reversing patterns of suffering and division.

Reynaldo Torres

Graduate Student, Texas Tech University
Reynaldo Torres is a young game theorist whose passion for economics and mathematics led him to concentrate on game theoretical frameworks from the early stages of his graduate studies, and he now tries to apply these ideas in every aspect of his life. His TEDxACU talk will shed light on common misconceptions we dwell on when assessing other people’s choices by providing a simple, yet powerful, game theory methodology: life is largely an intricate game of nested interactions – people making choices that ripple effects on other people’s lives.

Shannon Que

Graduate Student, Abilene Christian University
Shannon has spent several years researching the issue of food insecurity on college campuses, winning the 2019 Hatfield Prize through the Center for Public Justice for her research and working with students who experience homelessness. She is currently continuing this work in her master’s thesis project. Shannon's TEDxACU talk will draw on national/local data and personal accounts to confront the difficult realities of food insecurity, challenge harmful stereotypes, and incite hope about advocating for student success through reversing patterns of suffering and division.

Steve Templeton

Owner & Photographer, Texas Photo Rental
Since his first job at age nine (pulling sticker weeds in his parents’ yard), Steve has held a variety of diverse jobs -- from lifeguard to locksmith and professional pilot to private investigator. But his long-time career as a professional photographer has led to his current passion: light painting. In his TEDxACU talk, Steve will explain how a single flashlight provides him with enough light to create breathtaking works of art during the darkest hours of night and encourage the audience to reconsider the power of a single light to illuminate the night.

Vic McCracken

Associate Professor, Abilene Christian University
Vic spends much of his career teaching moral philosophy to college students. Trained in the field of Christian social ethics, his professional life revolves around the exploration of critical moral questions: what is justice? What moral values are essential to a good society? But he is also is a passionate devotee to the game of chess. In his TEDxACU talk, Vic will share some of what he’s learned from ten years of organizing a growing scholastic chess program in Abilene public schools, reflecting on the ways that his elementary chess students reveal an important lesson about virtue in the contemporary world.

Organizing team