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York College Adjunct professor, An Advocate for the Disabled

Truett Vaigneur at the Art Defined Disabilities Redefined art gallery. Photo Credit: Sherry Shivprasad.

By Sherry Shivprasad

Disabilities Redefined with Dr. Vaigneur is a live television show that showcases interviews of successful people with disabilities and the stories behind their talents, achievements and careers. York’s CUNY LEADS Specialist, Truett Vaigneur is the host of the show.

CUNY LEADS is an academic and career program for students with disabilities at the City University of New York. This program is free of charge for all eligible candidates and available on all CUNY campuses. Disability students have access to resume preparations, career counselling, internship assistance, interview preparation, academic advisement, and advocacy skills.

Vaigneur currently works as an adjunct lecturer in the Department of Behavioral Sciences and as a counselor for the Center for Students with Disabilities at York. He contributes all of his work to the disability community in order to bring awareness and changes to the public’s views about disabled people.

 “We interview people from all over the world,” Vaigneur said about his show. “We feature college students who are excelling in school and we interview people who are models, actors, and politicians and in all kinds of career.”

Vaigneur is also the author of a children’s book titled Aqua Blue which was published in September. Vaigneur hopes that the book can help reach out to children and their parents. The Aqua Blue book helps children to understand that they should be involved in activities whether it is in school or outside. There are so many areas that children can participate in such as, math, art, sports, or any other activity that they enjoy doing, Vaigneur stated.

“I have seen the adjustments into college is much faster and positive when the students is more involved,” said Vaigneur.

    Vaigneur curated one of York’s art galleries titled Art Defined Disabilities Redefined in celebration of the National Disability Employment Awareness Month. He collaborated with Margaret Vendryes, the chairperson of the Fine Arts Department and director of The Fine Arts gallery. Vaigneur also had the help of the Fine Arts Department’s staff particularly, Nicholas Fraser. The artworks in the gallery were selected from various CUNY colleges and from talented artists who have a disability.

“Many people who have a disability does not want to have fame because they are doing something that their fellow students are doing, instead they want to be a role model by accomplishing great achievements,” Vaigneur said. “This surpasses the limits of any performance.”

      Vaigneur was born in South Carolina and has lived in Italy and England. Vaigneur was formerly a fashion model, but he decided on following a different career path. He graduated from Hunter’s College with a Bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing and Education and worked towards his Doctoral degree in Education. However, Vaigneur continued acting and modeling.

   “I earned a Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists card and appeared in over 100 TV shows and movies as a featured walk-on,” Vaigneur said. “They never wanted me to talk, just walk through the crowd and look good, but it was boring and I wanted to do something very meaningful with my life.”

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