Deaf actress Marlee Matlin will address the Rochester Institute of Technology campus at 7 p.m. April 19 in Clark Gymnasium as one of RIT Student Government’s Distinguished Speakers. The event is open to the public.
Matlin, who was the first deaf contestant on ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars” last year, was chosen because she represents someone who students can look up to, according to Kaitlyn Parenti, Student Government’s director of programming.
“We selected Marlee to come to RIT because she is a strong deaf woman who has overcome numerous obstacles,” Parenti says. “We believe a variety of students here at RIT will be able to relate to her. By bringing her here, she can inspire students to succeed just as she has. Marlee never let anything get in the way of her success.”
In 1986, at age 21, Matlin became the youngest woman to receive the Academy Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role for her film debut in Children of a Lesser God. In 2007 she joined the cast of Showtime’s “The L Word,” starring opposite Jennifer Beals.
Matlin’s autobiography, I’ll Scream Later, was to be published this month.
“We’re excited to bring Marlee Matlin as our distinguished speaker because not only will it give us an opportunity to bring the deaf and hearing communities together, but many of our students can relate to her experiences,” said RIT Student Government President Ed Wolf. “She has a powerful message and I think that our students will enjoy hearing her story on what it is like to be a successful deaf actress.”
A book signing and photo opportunity follows Matlin’s talk. Advance tickets are $5 for students, $10 for faculty and staff and $15 for the public. They can be purchased at the Gordon Field House and Activities Center Box Office or at Ticketmaster.com. Tickets may be purchased at the door for $15 (cash only) starting on 5 p.m April 19.