Wednesday, September 15, 2021
  Around Campus

By News and Internal Communications

By Arnold Gonzalez

RIO GRANDE VALLEY, TEXAS – John Quiñones, an ABC News veteran, and creator and host of the highly-rated What Would You Do?, will serve as the first speaker of UTRGV’s 2021-2022 Distinguished Speaker Series (DSS) on Tuesday, Sep. 21.

John Quiñones
John Quiñones, ABC News veteran and What Would You Do? creator and host. (ABC/Lorenzo Bevilaqua)

The in-person event, hosted by UTRGV Student Activities, will begin at 7:30 p.m. at the TSC Performing Arts Center in Brownsville.

A lifetime of “never taking no for an answer” took Quiñones out of poverty to a more than 30-year career at ABC News and the anchor desk at 20/20 and Primetime.

Along the way, he broke through barriers, won the highest accolades and became a role model for many. Now in its 14th season, What Would You Do? – a hidden-camera ethical dilemma newsmagazine – has made Quiñones “the face of doing the right thing” for millions of fans.

“This year’s series will be a combination of in-person and virtual events,” said Cindy Mata, director of UTRGV Student Activities. “We noted that last year’s virtual events were a huge success with our student body, and we want to continue bringing that to them. However, we don’t want to lose the connection that in-person events bring to the university.”

Mata said Quiñones’ moving life story, along with his thought-provoking insight into human nature and ethical behavior, made him the ideal speaker to open the DSS series.

“His story is one that can resonate with our student body,” Mata said. “He has a similar upbringing to many of our students, and his story can inspire our students to continue looking ahead and achieving their goals.”

For more information about DSS, visit


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.