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The Vassar Haiti Project's Art & Soul Gala honors Robert Morgenthau and Lucinda Franks. (4/25)

On April 25 from 5:30 to 8:00pm in the Vassar College Alumnae House (161 College Avenue, Poughkeepsie, NY), the Vassar Haiti Project will honor Robert M. Morgenthau and Lucinda Franks this year for their extraordinary achievements in the fields of international social justice and literature. The event features Vassar musicians, vibrant Haitian art, and food. Haitian singer “Naika” will be performing. Proceeds fund the staffing, supplies, and operation of a clinic in Haiti that serves thousands of families from over 40 villages. Ticket Price: $75 Reservations. For tickets, visit www.thehaitiproject.org. Questions: haitiproject@vassar.edu or (845) 797-2123.

Founded in 2001, the Vassar Haiti Project (VHP) engages students in a life-changing, experiential education in global citizenship, promotes Haitian art, and fosters sustainable development in Haiti. In addition to the sale of original Haitian art, VHP’s contributions are guided by six initiatives: education, healthcare, reforestation, clean water access, and women’s empowerment.

Robert Morgenthau
currently serves as counsel at Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen and Katz in New York City. He is most remembered for his elected service of 35 years as NY County District Attorney, during which time his staff conducted more than 3.5 million criminal prosecutions. Mr. Morgenthau is a fierce advocate for the rights of immigrants and the underserved. Often published in national newspapers, his recent op-ed articles have heralded the rights of immigrants and the need to improve the judicial process for immigrants currently held up for years in the court system. Mr. Morgenthau is married to Lucinda Franks.

Michael Solomon, an attorney who recently traveled to Haiti with the Vassar Haiti Project, speaks fondly of his former boss: “I worked as a young prosecutor for Bob Morgenthau in the early 1990s.” Mr. Solomon is currently North East Regional Director for FINRA. “Mr. Morgenthau’s passion for true justice and ‘doing the right thing’ has served as a guiding light for my 30-year career as an in-house counsel and securities regulator. He will always be the yardstick against which all other prosecutors are measured.

Lucinda Franks is a Vassar College graduate and is the author of several prominent books which memoir her life, most recently Timeless: Love, Morgenthau, and Me and My Father’s Secret War. In her journalistic career, Ms. Franks was a staff writer for United Press International in London, covering stories such as the civil war in Northern Ireland and antiwar movements in Europe. Ms. Franks also worked as a staff writer for the New York Times (1974-1977) covering the many monumental stories of that time. In 1971 Ms. Franks was awarded the Pulitzer Prize. She has taught at several universities, including Princeton, Vassar, and Yale. VHP’s dynamic Medical Advisory Board—which consists of local physicians, community members, and Vassar students—is charged with guiding and funding VHP’s medical clinic. This medical center, located in Fiervil, Haiti, serves the residents of over 40 villages.

Local physician and former Art and Soul honoree, Dan Katz, MD just returned from his third trip to Haiti and works as an extraordinary advocate, collaborating regularly with the Fiervil medical center director, Dr. Gueslin Joassainvil.

“Once again it was what I saw in their eyes that reaffirmed the importance of our little clinic, with all of its issues. Despite the lack of electricity, furniture or running water, with no fans or shade in the “waiting area”, the VHP clinic signals hope to all who walk for hours through the mountains and wait for hours more in the blistering sun. Hope for a chance at feeling better from the simple rash to the malaria-driven fevers, headaches and abdominal pain to the horrendous untreated wounds riddled with infection. Hope for a chance never given before. In their eyes, it is unmistakable. VHP is delivering more than pills or salves. I saw it again. Hope.”

Sponsored by the Office of International Services and The Vassar Haiti Project.

Vassar College strives to make its events, performances, and facilities accessible to all. Individuals with disabilities requiring special accommodations must contact the Office of Campus Activities at least 48 hours in advance of an event, Mondays–Fridays, at (845) 437-5370. Without sufficient notice, appropriate space and/or assistance may not be available. Detailed information about accessibility to specific campus facilities can be found on the Accessibility and Educational Opportunity website.

Directions to the Vassar campus, located at 124 Raymond Avenue in Poughkeepsie, NY, are available at https://www.vassar.edu/visit/how-to-get-here/

Posted by Office of Communications Thursday, February 14, 2019