Thursday, February 27, 2020

By News and Internal Communications

By Cinthia Monsivais

RIO GRANDE VALLEY, TEXAS – FEB. 27, 2020 – Academy Award-winning costume designer Ruth Carter will be the next speaker for UTRGV’s Distinguished Speaker Series.

Her work in the film “Black Panther” led to her historic win as the first African American to receive the “Best Costume Design” Academy Award.

She will speak at 7:30 p.m. Monday, March 2, at the Student Union on the UTRGV Edinburg Campus, in the PlainsCapital Bank Theater.

Ruth Carter
Academy Award-winning costume designer Ruth Carter. (Courtesy Photo)

Carter has been in the costume design industry for more than three decades and has more than 40 films credits to her name. Known for the research and dedication she puts into her costume designs, she is known specifically for her work on highly praised films like Lee Daniels’ “The Butler,” Ava Duvernay’s “Selma,” and “Marshall,” directed by Reginald Hudlin.

The DSS committee selected Carter as this semester’s speaker due to her accolades as a costume designer and the leadership she has shown in her field of work.

“The committee hopes that through her story she will be able to motivate students to pursue their dreams,” said Cindy Mata-Vasquez, director of UTRGV Student Activities, which sponsors the Distinguished Speakers Series.

The series is free and open to the community. Doors open at 7 p.m. for UTRGV students, faculty and staff with a valid university ID, and at 7:15 p.m. for the general public.

The event also will be streamed at Salón Cassia on the Brownsville Campus for students in Brownsville who will not be able to attend the live presentation.

About DSS

The Distinguished Speaker Series is a signature program under the leadership of Student Activities that carried over to UTRGV from legacy institution UT Pan American. UTRGV kicked off the 2019-2020 series with Pro Football Hall of Fame running back, businessman and entrepreneur Emmitt Smith. Previous speakers have included former U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary and former San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro; actress and author Diane Guerrero; and actor, producer and activist Wilmer Valderrama.

A third guest speaker – actor, voice-actor, stand-up comedian, producer, playwright and screenwriter John Leguizamo – joins the 2019-2020 speaker lineup in April.

For more information, contact UTRGV Student Activities at 956-665-7364 or email


The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) was created by the Texas Legislature in 2013 as the first major public university of the 21st century in Texas. This transformative initiative provided the opportunity to expand educational opportunities in the Rio Grande Valley, including a new School of Medicine, and made it possible for residents of the region to benefit from the Permanent University Fund – a public endowment contributing support to the University of Texas System and other institutions.

UTRGV has campuses and off-campus research and teaching sites throughout the Rio Grande Valley including in Boca Chica Beach, Brownsville (formerly The University of Texas at Brownsville campus), Edinburg (formerly The University of Texas-Pan American campus), Harlingen, McAllen, Port Isabel, Rio Grande City, and South Padre Island. UTRGV, a comprehensive academic institution, enrolled its first class in the fall of 2015, and the School of Medicine welcomed its first class in the summer of 2016.