Felicia Lundquist was in a committee meeting for civic engagement at Westfield State when her phone began to ring. She looked down, saw the words “Springfield College” and knew that she had to take the call.
She returned to the meeting with a big grin on her face and was thrilled to tell the other committee members that she got the job.
Lundquist has been named director of multicultural affairs at Springfield College and is excited to plunge into the demanding, yet rewarding work.
“A big part of my job is looking at cultural and educational programming and developing programming and trainings that cater to social justice and social change,” Lundquist said. “Mentoring is a big piece of my position along with overseeing the overall budget of the office.”
Her grin has followed her right to Springfield College and remains on her face throughout her work days. Lundquist’s voice is calming and welcoming, a perfect fit for her position.
Lundquist stressed the importance of building relationships with students, staff and faculty similarly to the way her predecessor, the late John Wilson, did.
“He really was sincere in the work that he was doing and in the relationships that he built,” Lundquist said. “I am not going to step into anyone’s shoes, because those are huge shoes to fill. I want to hang up those shoes and honor his legacy and continue the work that he started.”
Lundquist had a connection with Wilson before even thinking about working for Springfield College. Lundquist’s good friend had an aunt who worked for Springfield College. When Lundquist expressed her interest in multicultural affairs, she learned of Wilson. The two were supposed to meet for lunch before Wilson got ill. He died on February 13, 2015 after serving at Springfield College for 38 years.
Little did Ludquist know that she would eventually take over Wilson’s position.
“It was really eerie in this weird way,” Lundquist said. “I had a connection to Mr. Wilson and Springfield College, before I even got here.”
Despite her overarching goal of building relationships, Lundquist has a number of other goals and duties that she hopes to make progress towards achieving. One of those goals is getting people to look at the bigger picture. Don’t just serve soup to those in need, but understand why you are serving that soup.
Lundquist wants to work on hiring more faculty and staff of color so that students can have a sense of familiarity.
“We need to bring in a more [diverse] faculty so that students and faculty can look at each other and know that there are people who are like them within the community,” Lundquist said.
She hopes to work with admissions to bring in a more diverse group of students. Once those students come she wants to work towards making them feel welcome and comfortable.
Lundquist also noted that the office is more than a “safe place” for students of color. She noted that, yes, it is important for students of color to have a place where they feel comfortable, but diversity is much more than the color of one’s skin.
“We need to start to look at other social identities that are underrepresented or oppressed,” she explained. “That would be looking at LGBTQ communities, students who identify with disabilities, socioeconomic backgrounds, etc.”
Lundquist earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Spanish and Sociology from UMass Amherst in 1996. Upon graduation, she landed a job in College Admissions, first at Hampshire College and last at Smith College. She went on to earn her Master’s degree in Higher Education with a concentration in education, research, policy and administration at UMass Amherst.
Lundquist does not want Springfield College to be another stop on her journey. She wants to be a part of the Springfield College community for a long time and build relationships that last a lifetime.
“I want people to trust that I am not going anywhere any time soon,” she said. “I really feel that this is a great fit for me and I hope that students, faculty and staff feel that I am a good fit for them.”
Lundquist is excited to continue her work and “couldn’t be happier to be here.”