Events Calendar

Ryan O'Connell: Inclusive by Design Presented by The Rozsa

This is a past event.

Thursday, March 28, 2024, 7:30 pm

This is a past event.

In Inclusive by Design, speaker Ryan O'Connell will break down what systemic ableism is, discuss how to build inclusivity into spaces [classrooms, buildings, communities] in ways that go beyond ADA compliance, and talk about why representation matters now more than ever (and tell us what we can do about it). This event will be a facilitated discussion between Ryan and Darnishia Morris, Instructor and Manager of Global Engagement Programs with Pavlis Honors College.

Ryan O'Connell is an American writer, actor, director, comedian, LGBTQ activist, and disability advocate. He is known for his 2015 memoir, I'm Special: And Other Lies We Tell Ourselves, about his life as a gay man with cerebral palsy, which he adapted into television series Special for Netflix, which premiered in April 2019.

CONTENT GUIDANCE | This speaker event will cover topics of ableism, inclusivity, and representation. Expect some adult language.

PRESENTER | Rozsa Center for the Performing Arts
VENUE | Rozsa Center for the Performing Arts
DURATION | 60 minutes
TICKETS | Free Tickets for all through the Van Evera Memorial Endowment
SEATING | General Admission

Additional Events

Photo Op with Ryan O'Connell: Join us in the lobby following the event for an opportunity to take a picture with Ryan.


Ryan O’Connell is a two-time Emmy® award winner most known for creating SPECIAL, a four-time Emmy®-nominated and Writers Guild Award-winning short-form series on Netflix, which he wrote and executive produced for two seasons. O’Connell also received a Special Recognition Award from GLAAD Award and a Visibility Award from the HRC. SPECIAL, which is also executive produced by Jim Parsons, is loosely based on O’Connell’s own upbringing and experience as a gay man navigating the world with cerebral palsy. Most recently, O’Connell was a Co-Executive Producer and star of the QUEER AS FOLK reboot, which premiered on Peacock. He previously worked on the writing staff on NBC’s revival of WILL & GRACE, MTV’s AWKWARD, and Netflix’s THE BABY-SITTERS CLUB.

O’Connell is also an accomplished, sought-after writer and his voice is both refreshing and unique. He is the author of I’m Special: And Other Lies We Tell Ourselves, part-memoir, part-manifesto which was published by Simon & Schuster in 2015 to widespread praise. O’Connell’s debut novel Just By Looking At Him was just published by Atria, an imprint of Simon & Schuster. He is set to write, direct, produce and star in the film adaptation with FilmNation and Berlanti. 

Darnishia Morris graduated from Michigan Technological University with a degree in Industrial Management and International Business minor. She also received her Master's in Management from Walsh College of Accountancy and Business. Since her first trip as an exchange student to Finland in 1997, Dar has studied, traveled and performed community service in over 25 countries.

Dar worked extensively with several non-profit agencies prior to her return to Michigan Tech in 2005. Since her return, Dar has served the institution and students in various capacities, including domestic and international recruitment, study abroad, and career services. She currently serves in the Pavlis Honors College as an Instructor and Manager of Global Engagement Programs, while simultaneously pursuing her third Michigan Tech degree, a Doctorate in Applied Cognitive Science and Human Factors.  For over 20 years her life journey has involved encouraging, mentoring, and training young adults on their career path to responsible adulthood.

Dar enjoys quality time with her husband Derrick and part-human dog Trotter B. Her favorite pastimes are watching a good comedy, fashion consulting (DarVon Consulting), traveling, her podcast (Gen X, Y, and I), and being a foodie.


Support for this the Rozsa Presenting Series and this event provided by

The College of Engineering

The Office of the Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion

Student Disability Services

and donors like you. View current donors to the Rozsa Center for the Performing Arts. 


Noise-canceling headphones
Available at the Rozsa Box Office.

Assisted Listening Devices
Available at the Rozsa Box Office.

View full list of accessibility services

Print and Digital Programs

Digital Program
The full program will be available online at least one day in advance for all devices and is compatible with most screen readers. 

Limited Print Program
Print programs containing limited show information will be available at the door.

Large-Print Program
A large-print version of the limited print program is available in advance online. A limited quantity is printed and available at the Rozsa Box Office.

Additional Information

Additional Details



User Activity

No recent activity