Two-Time Oscar Winner Ruth E. Carter Receives Honorary Doctorate from Her Alma Mater, Establishes Scholarship, and Announces New Book, “The Art of Ruth E. Carter,” During 153rd Commencement Weekend  


Hampton, Va. (May 18, 2023) — Hampton University alumna Ruth E. Carter received the honorary doctorate of humane letters from her alma mater during its 153rd Commencement Ceremony on May 14. Carter, a graduate of the class of 1982, won two Oscars for Costume Design for Black Panther and Wakanda Forever, making history as the first African-American woman to win in that category. Carter has earned 70 credits and collaborated with prolific directors, including Spike Lee, Steven Spielberg, Ava DuVernay, and Ryan Coogler. Her impressive body of work includes film and television projects such as Amistad, The Butler, Selma, Rosewood, School Daze, Coming to America, Do the Right Thing, Malcolm X, Marshal, and Yellowstone, among others. 

Carter, who was awarded a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2021, delivered this year’s keynote address to the more than 800 graduates and their families gathered in Armstrong Stadium, encouraging her fellow Pirates to “find your treasure,” she said. “Be a student of your profession, continue to improve your craft, and have faith in your foundation and make sacrifices today so your tomorrow is rewarded.”   

The Theatre Arts graduate also announced the Ruth E. Carter Scholarship as an effort to give back and help financially disadvantaged students. “She is a true daughter of our university and an amazing woman,” said Hampton University President Darrell K. Williams. “She personifies the Hampton standard of excellence.” 

On May 23, Carter will release her first book, “The Art of Ruth E. Carter: Costuming Black History and the Afrofuture, from Do the Right Thing to Black Panther,” providing readers and sartorial enthusiasts with a behind-the-scenes look of her legendary career working in film and television. Carter’s complete body of work is told through personal stories, process art, film stills, mood boards, and more. The book also reveals details of the prolific designer’s most iconic creations. For more information, visit: 

To view the Commencement ceremony, click here