Poet, playwright, and advocate, LeDerick Horne, will discuss living with learning disabilities on April 1, 2009.

POUGHKEEPSIE, NY – When he was in the third grade, LeDerick Horne was told he didn’t have much of a future. But despite being classified as neurologically impaired, Horne has spent his life overcoming his disability and has become successful spoken word poet, playwright, motivational speaker, and advocate.


On Wednesday, April 1, Horne will discuss living, “Beyond Classification,” on Wednesday, April 1. His presentation, the eighth annual Steven Hirsch ’71 and Susan Hirsch Disability Awareness Lecture, will address increasing performance, confidence, self-determination, and self-advocacy by looking beyond classification and labels. Free and open to the public, the lecture will begin at 5:30 pm on the second floor of the Students’ Building.

Through poetry and spoken word, Horne has been recognized across the country as a motivational speaker and advocate for people with disabilities. After graduating with honors from New Jersey City University in 2003, he has organized poetry events throughout the state and performed across the region.

Since then, Horne has released Rhyme Reason and Song (2005), an album of poetry set to hip-hop and house music, and co-created and performed in New Street Poets, a spoken word play addressing urban culture and gentrification. The play received great critical acclaim at the New York City International Fringe Festival in 2007. He also founded and serves as CEO of the real estate investment firm, Horne & Associates, LLC.

Horne is currently the board chair of Project Eye-to-Eye, a national nonprofit that provides mentoring programs for students with learning disabilities and attention deficit disorder. Through Eye-to-Eye, Horne has facilitated workshops, delivered keynote presentations, and spoken to thousands of students, teachers, and service providers about his experiences (

Vassar was one of the first colleges to establish a chapter of Project Eye-to-Eye, a national organization founded by Jonathan Mooney and David Cole (authors of Learning Outside the Lines) while they were attending Brown University. Vassar students with learning disabilities (LD) and/or attention deficit disorder (ADHD) serve as mentors of school age students with learning differences. The program is unique as it is coordinated and staffed entirely by college students with LD or ADHD. Mentors work one-on-one with middle school students in the local community with LD or ADHD to address the intense feelings of alienation, frustration and failure that are so commonly experienced by those with LD/ADHD.

The lecture series, made possible by a gift from the Steven and Susan Hirsch, whose commitment to enhance student learning and faculty teaching development is helping Vassar more effectively meet the needs of students with diverse learning needs, particularly the needs of students with learning disabilities. Past speakers in the lecture series have included academics and psychologists, discussing their struggles with conditions such as dyslexia, attention deficit disorder, and clinical depression. The fund also helps support the Vassar chapter of Project Eye-to-Eye.

This event is sponsored by Disability and Support Services. Individuals with disabilities requiring accommodations or information on accessibility should contact Campus Activities Office at (845) 437-5370. Without sufficient notice, appropriate space and/or assistance may not be available. Directions to the Vassar campus are available at

Vassar College is a highly selective, coeducational, independent, residential liberal arts college founded in 1861.





Posted by Office of Communications Saturday, February 28, 2009