Stephenson assumes role in diversity center

Courtesy of Quincy Stephenson | Quincy Stephenson said that he tries to practice compassion every day.

Alicia Dye | News Editor

Sept. 8, 2022

Quincy Stephenson may be new to the Center for Excellence in Diversity and Student Inclusion, but he’s ready to take it head on and ready to serve students in any way he can.

Stephenson grew up in Memphis, Tenn., but sees Pittsburgh as his home. He’s currently working on his doctoral degree in counseling education and supervision. Mental health is something Stephenson is an advocate for, but he’s an even bigger advocate for diversity.

“I’ve always been an advocate for diversity, inclusion and accessibility,” Stephenson said. “Being a Black man in spaces where we are not represented, I’ve always used my role as an opportunity to be a voice for those whose [voice] may not be amplified.”

Stephenson believes that compassion is the most-important thing.

“My parents instilled what it means to be compassionate in me. It’s something I practice every day,” Stephenson said.

Stephenson began his life at Duquesne in 2017 as a student, when he first started his doctoral degree. He later started working at the campus wellbeing center as the outreach coordinator, then he became the group coordinator, focusing on group work with students.

Stephenson has worked with the Center for Excellence in Diversity and Student Inclusion since the days it was still called the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, and when it was located in the basement of the Duquesne Union. His role as group coordinator brought him even closer to the center, especially in 2020.

“I started to collaborate with the center in the year of racial awakening,” Stephenson said. “We started support groups for Black students, LGBT+ students, AAPI (Asian American Pacific Islander) students and more. We wanted them to have a safe space.”

Stephenson also sees the center as a safe space for students, and wants to keep it that way.

“The Center represents our efforts that diversity is embedded at Duquesne,” Stephenson said. “All student differences are respected, and I think that the center is a symbol of a safe space.”

Sara Kyles-Royster, a co-worker of Stephenson’s, was sad to see him leave the wellbeing center, but was also happy for him.

“It was bittersweet. I wanted to keep him here, but he has a lot to offer,” Kyles-Royster said. “He’s always had the need to serve underserved communities, and he’s going to do well.

Stephenson was honored to be chosen as director of the Center for Excellence in Diversity and Student Inclusion.

“It was humbling to be chosen. I consider this role a great responsibility,” Stephenson said. “When I found out I was chosen, there was a part of me that was honored and part of me was humbled because I don’t take this role lightly.”

Valerie Harper, director of inclusive excellence in the Duquesne Law School, thinks the university chose the right person.

“They hired the right individual to replace Anthony [Kane],” Harper said. “I was very delighted when he got this position. Duquesne University has selected a gem.”

Stephenson came with goals. He wants to continue to grow the center beyond what it is now.

“I want to keep the ball rolling. I want to continue the growth that’s already happening,” Stephenson said. “I also want to do everything we can to shift the culture on campus regarding diversity.

“I also want to have a good time while doing it. When you love what you do, it’s like you aren’t working.”

Harper thinks Stephenson is open to learning from Duquesne students.

“Quincy has great ideas, [he is] consistent and follows through with suggestions, questions and researches if he is unable to respond, as well as arriving at solutions with an open-mind and equity.”

Stephenson’s main goal is to continue serving students, something he’s been doing at the wellbeing center.

“We have the mission of serving God by serving students. I’m getting to meet students for the first time, and I’m able to serve students in a different capacity,” Stephenson said. “It’s exciting to see and get to know more students.

“This office, to some students, is like therapy. They like to rant and talk about what’s going on around campus. This place is also somewhere students can get more information about clubs or other events that are sponsored by the center. This center is so important to students.”

Harper believes that Stephenson is perfect for students.

“He listens to an individual in front of him and has the unique ability to interject humor in a conversation when necessary,” Harper said. “He’s very down to earth, so students can trust him.”

Stephenson wants students to know that he is there for them.

“I want to keep an open door, personally. I’m putting myself out there,” Stephenson said. “Students just knowing that we’re here is important.”

Kyles-Royster knows that Stephenson is authentic.

“He really cares about what he believes in. He’s a friendly face and really knows his stuff,” she said. “He’s great at having those difficult conversations, but he’s also laid back and quiet. He wants to listen most of all.”

Stephenson wants students to feel comfortable and to love the campus as much as he does.

“I love this campus and our students. I’m here to serve them.”