Distinguished Speaker Series

About the program

The Distinguished Speaker Series (DSS) is a signature program under the leadership of Student Activities, that aims to provide the university and surrounding community with world-class speakers and lecturers. DSS hosts public events with priority seating for UTRGV students, faculty, and staff.

The series has brought in notable speakers such as former leader of Russia Mikhail Gorbachev, former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, author and civil rights activist the late Dr. Maya Angelou, Emmy award-winning CNN host Larry King, and Grammy/Oscar award-winning R&B artist John Legend.

2019-2020 Speaker Lineup 

Emmitt Smith

September 26, 2019

Emmitt Smith

Pro Football Hall of Fame Running Back,

Businessman and Entrepreneur

Edinburg,TX 

Ruth Carter

March 2, 2020

Ruth Carter 

Academy Award Winning Costume Designer

Edinburg, TX 

John Leguizamo

Postponed :

Due to the recent university recommendations for events for the Spring 2020 semester, this speaking engagement will be rescheduled for a later date. 

John Leguizamo 

Actor, Voice Actor, Stand-Up Comedian, Producer,

Playwright & Screenwriter

Brownsville, TX 



Previous Speakers

2018-2019
"Celebrating 15 years for DSS"

George Takei

January 28, 2019

George Takei

Actor, Social Justice Activist and Social Media Mega-Power

Wilmer Valderrama

September 27, 2018

Wilmer Valderrama

Actor, Producer and Activist

2017-2018

Daymond John

March 7, 2018

Daymond John

American Businessman, Investor, Television Personality from ABC’s Shark Tank, Author and Motivational Speaker

Diane Guerrero

February 1, 2018

Diane Guerrero

Actress and Author

White House Ambassador for Citizenship and Naturalization

Julian Castro

September 27, 2017

Julian Castro

Former United States Housing and Urban Development Secretary

Former Mayor, San Antonio, TX