Peabody winner to share creative insights with Bluffton’s class of 2020


Julie Burstein, a Peabody Award-winning radio producer, best-selling author and TED speaker will be the featured speaker at 10:45 a.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 30 in the Sommer Center for Health and Fitness Education, as Bluffton welcomes the class of 2020 at its annual opening convocation. Burstein’s book, “Spark: How Creativity Works,” was this year’s summer reading for first-year Bluffton University students.

During the ceremony, faculty wearing academic regalia will welcome new first-year and transfer students. Each new student’s name will be called.

“We launch each year with this opening ceremony in which we recognize each new Bluffton student. It is our way of communicating that each student plays a role in making Bluffton what it is,” said Sally Weaver Sommer, vice president and dean of academic affairs. “We are delighted that Julie Burstein will be our featured speaker, challenging all of us to plug into that spark of creativity that is ingrained within us.”

Burstein’s portion of the event will introduce Bluffton’s 2016-17 civic engagement theme, Creativity, the Arts and Civic Life. Each year, the university focuses on a significant contemporary issue that is related to its mission and becomes the subject of cross-disciplinary exploration. This year, students, faculty and staff will explore how creativity and the imagination infuse all disciplines and how their creative gifts can be unleashed for the purposes of God’s universal kingdom. This exploration begins with the common summer reading.

Burstein has spent her working life in conversation with highly creative artists, scientists and business professionals. She’s interviewed, probed, guided and created public radio programs about them and their work. In “Spark” Burstein maps out some of the coordinates and dimensions of creativity artists have taken.