Concordia U. Portland Honors Education Leaders, Promotes Steam

Adding the “A” to STEM: the role of the arts in nurturing the innovation economy.

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John Maeda CU 2016

PORTLAND, Ore. – Feb. 3, 2016 –John Maeda,a national advocate for the importance of the arts in education, spoke to a crowd of more than 600 people at the Feb. 2Concordia University’s Victor Atiyeh Leadership in Education Awards, presented by HotChalk Inc.

Proceeds from the event benefit Concordia University student scholarships and 3 to PhD®, the public-private partnership between Concordia University, Portland Public Schools’ Faubion School and Trillium Family Services as they develop a new national model to create safer, healthier, more educated communities. 

Maeda, design partner for Kleiner, PerkinsCaulfield and Byers and the former president of Rhode Island School of Design, is the spokesperson for what has become a national movement to add the “A” to STEAM for science, technology, engineering, art and math. Students beginning elementary school today are likely to work in jobs that have not yet been invented, so it is imperative that children gain new skills across disciplines to be successful in the 21st century workforce. 

“The arts bring an important humanistic creativity to science and technology,” said Maeda. “Art impacts our lives and the economy, playing a critical role in the start-up ecosystem.” Maeda acknowledgedthe role of U.S. Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici for her work advocating for STEAM as part of the Every Student Succeeds Act, signed into law by President Obama on Dec. 10, 2015.

The idea behind STEAM is not separate classes, but art and design skills woven into core curriculum, giving teachers new tools to engage students in a creative process that connects back to other subjects. Maeda believes today’s leaders, especially in education, are faced with a new world that requires them to lead differently and creatively. His TED Talk has nearly 500,000 views.

At the event, Concordia University honoredCarl Taltonwith its 2016 Governor Victor Atiyeh Leadership in Education Award.  Locally and regionally, Talton has built strong communities and advocated for greater access to STEAM education, especially for underserved populations.  Talton,the executive chair of both Portland Family of Funds and United Fund Advisors, is a founding member of the STEAM Coalition of Northeast Portland.Past honorees include: Dan and Priscilla Wieden, Kay Toran, Richard C. Alexander and Ken Thrasher, as well as the award’s namesake, the late Gov. Victor G. Atiyeh.

“The outstanding civic and community leadership Carl Taltondemonstrates enriches and improves the lives of all Portland residents, especially underserved populations,” said Concordia University President Charles Schlimpert. “Concordia University is honored to recognize Carl’s commitment to ensuring access to STEAM educational opportunities to ensure a more inclusive future.”  


Concordia University is a private, Lutheran, liberal arts university located in northeast Portland, Ore. with a mission of preparing leaders for the transformation of society. Founded in 1905, Concordia University is Oregon’s fastest growing university, now serving more than 7,400 students on its campuses and online, through its College of Education, College of Health & Human Services, College of Theology, Arts, & Sciences, School of Management, and Concordia University School of Law in Boise, Idaho. For more about Concordia University, visit and