Shaquan Huntt ’13: Reflecting Back, Looking Forward

“We’ve reached even further than we imagined, and even as we’re still in the thick of this climb, we’re already thinking about the next one,” narrates Trustee Shaquan Huntt ’13 in the new Dare Northward campaign video. In the video, he explores the sentiment of thinking big and taking action—two things Huntt himself is known for.

With a hunger to get involved at Colby, Huntt, a psychology and philosophy double major, was an indoor and outdoor track and field athlete, an alumni relations intern, and a member of the Students Organized for Black and Hispanic Unity, the Men of Color Alliance, the Entrepreneurial Alliance, the Student Alumni Association, and the Gentlemen of Quality group. He was president for the latter two organizations as a senior, earning the Division of Student Affairs Award for Diversity and Human Difference for his efforts. Huntt seized every opportunity Colby could offer, building a confidence to lead that he would take with him after graduation.

Since leaving Mayflower Hill, he has taught math and English at Thessalonia Academy, interned with the New York City Council, joined Community Board #2 in the Bronx, and is now a J.D. graduate—a dream he has had since elementary school—from the Fordham School of Law, Class of 2020. Yet he has remained actively engaged with the College, including joining the Alumni of Color Network and, more recently, the Board of Trustees in May 2019. 

Huntt shared with us his reflections on the Dare Northward campaign, the Colby experience, and the importance of staying connected and making a difference as an alum. 

You recently narrated the Dare Northward campaign’s new anthem video. What does the campaign mean to you and how does this video bring that to life? 

For me the campaign has signified the power and possibilities available to organizations that dream bigger than their status quo. The video is a powerful statement that captures and inspires the spirit of boldness and drive that is required to achieve great things. I feel inspired hearing and watching a video like this one and am proud of the work and resilience of Colby.

As host of the recent True North event “A Conversation with President David A. Greene” during Colby’s virtual Reunion 2021, did you learn anything that surprised or excited you about Colby?

One of the things that excites me is the civic engagement and continued investment in Waterville. I think the creation of the Alfond Commons with built-in civic engagement and community partnerships, programs, and initiatives shows that we value our relationship with the local community. It has empowered our students to engage with Waterville in a meaningful way. I also find the new developments very exciting, especially the Paul J. Schupf Art Center. The continued efforts to support the growth and development of downtown are immensely important.

Dare Northward supports major initiatives that enhance the College’s impact and the student experience. Which initiative(s) are you most passionate about and why?

I am very passionate about DavisConnects. As the job market continues to shift with the times, it is increasingly important that college students are given access to hands-on work and learning opportunities that will prepare them for life beyond college. DavisConnects offers Colby students an amazing chance to have real-world experiences around the world, which will further distinguish their resumes and applications.

You joined the Colby College Board of Trustees in May 2019. What was your inspiration for joining? How do you aim to make a difference in your role?

I joined the Board of Trustees because I thought it was a great way to give back and become involved again with the place that made a profound impact on my life. I also knew it would be a privilege to be surrounded by a community of very skilled and smart people who were committed to making Colby a great institution. I seek to use my role to share a different voice and perspective at the table with the Board of Trustees and to help inspire alumni previously not engaged with the Colby community to re-engage, believing that there is great reward in being a member of the Colby community post-graduation.

How do you personally feel empowered to get involved in the campaign? What role do you believe the Colby community plays in moving forward Colby initiatives in meaningful ways? 

I feel empowered to give and volunteer my time. The Colby community is key to moving forward Colby’s initiatives. From sharing news and information about Colby’s accomplishments with their network to donating money of any amount to the Colby Fund and serving as a volunteer, the Colby community is a necessary part of Colby’s ongoing success with this campaign.

What are some of your favorite Colby experiences—as a student and as an alum?

As a student, some of my favorite experiences include throwing javelin as a member of Colby track and field, participating in intramural sports, and being a leader of a student club that partnered with Campus Life to create a Custodian Appreciation event.

As an alum, two of my favorite experiences include connecting with other alumni of color through a video conferencing platform during summer 2020. Second, as a member of the Board of Trustees, I was proud to learn about all the ways the College assisted students who needed critical support when the country shut down last March. 

Huntt in action as a member of Colby’s varsity track and field team.

If you could give any advice to the incoming Class of 2025, what would it be?

First: Exploit the great educational possibilities available to you through Colby; learn what’s possible by asking questions, get any needed guidance, and pursue!

Second: Say “yes” more than “no” to healthy extracurricular and social opportunities that can add more flavor to your college experience and life.