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Hampton University alumna, Hollywood costume designer urges students to be innovators, leaders

Free Press wire reports | 5/19/2018, 2:44 p.m.
Ruth E. Carter challenged Hampton University students to be brave, to be innovators, to be bridge builders and leaders. At ...

Ruth E. Carter challenged Hampton University students to be brave, to be innovators, to be bridge builders and leaders.

At the university’s 148th commencement on Sunday, the Hampton alumna and acclaimed Hollywood costume designer for the box office hit “Black Panther” told graduates, “When King T’Challa said, ‘Let’s build bridges not barriers,’ I say good thing Hampton’s got good engineering and architectural programs so they can build bridges that need building once all y’all break barriers in the world with your education.”

Ms. Carter, who earned a bachelor’s degree from Hampton University in 1982, has spent more than three decades in Hollywood as a costume designer. She was nominated for Academy Awards for her costume design work on Spike Lee’s film, “Malcolm X,” and the film “Amistad” by director Steven Spielberg.

Hampton University President William R. Harvey said he believes Ms. Carter will win next year when she’s certain to be nominated for an Academy Award for the costumes in “Black Panther.”

Dr. Harvey, who is celebrating his 40th anniversary as president at the university now celebrating its 150th birthday, presented Ms. Carter with her diploma, which she never officially received 36 years ago. He also presented Ms. Carter, school counselor Mawiyah Husbands and Charles S. Harris, executive vice president of Averett University, with the Outstanding Alumnus-at-Large Awards.

Over their commencement robes, graduates wore white stoles commemorating the university’s two major anniversaries and bearing a seal honoring Dr. Harvey and Union Gen. Samuel C. Armstrong, who founded the university in 1868.

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