Best known for his role as exchange student Fez on the hit TV comedy, “That ’70s Show,” Wilmer Valderrama will bring his passion, charisma and humor as the first speaker of the UTRGV Distinguished Speaker Series (DSS) on Thursday, Sept. 27.

Valderrama, an actor, producer and activist, will share his personal journey from a childhood spent mostly in Venezuela to his return at age 13 to the United States – unable to speak English – and his subsequent meteoric rise within five years to television network stardom.

A prominent voice for Latino representation, voting and fair immigration policies, Valderrama serves on the board of Voto Latino and as the spokesperson for the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute’s Ready 2 Lead program, which works to educate and empower Latino youth. Most recently, he co-founded HARNESS, a group dedicated to connecting communities to inspire action and power change.

He currently stars on the TV drama “NCIS,” and was the voice of Manny on Disney’s popular animated children’s show, “Handy Manny.”

The next DSS speaker will be George Takei, best known for his role in the acclaimed TV series “Star Trek,” and for being one of the country’s leading figures in the fight for social justice, LGBTQ rights and marriage equality. He is scheduled to speak at UTRGV on Jan. 28, 2019, in Brownsville.

DSS is free and open to the public. ID is needed for UTRGV students, faculty and staff. For more information or special accommodations, call 956-665-7364 (Edinburg) or 956-882-5111 (Brownsville).