Priscilla Ruder Lucier ’50

From a fresh start at NSFG to a happy career and home at Williston

At NSFG, Priscilla Lucier ’50 dated only Amherst College “boys,” but she ended up marrying a Williston graduate: Joe Lucier ’50. Together, the couple returned to Williston in 1977 to work in the development office and to revitalize the school’s fundraising efforts, creating a partnership that would prove a boon for them and the school. All four of their children also attended Williston. Ms. Lucier says her time at both NSFG and Williston were “highlights in my life.”


woman in chair


Why did you attend NSFG?

My parents got divorced and the family moved in with my grandparents. We saw that it just wasn’t right. My aunt and uncle were over in Amherst, and we thought that’s the place we ought to go. My grades were failing, and I didn’t know what I was doing and where I was going to go. So they decided I should go to NSFG. My mother and I went over and we talked to Ms. Whitaker and she accepted me. And I loved it. It was the best time of my life in the school. It came at a wonderful time when I really needed help.

How would you describe Ms. Whitaker?

Ms. Whitaker was something else. I’ve never met a woman like her. She was so lovely with us all. She treated us so well. We could do no wrong. She had a lot of messages about going out into the world and so forth. She was a very gentle soul. Ms. Bement was the opposite. But obviously they worked well together.

What was your role working at Williston Northampton?

Bob Ward was the headmaster. When he called Joe, to see if he would come to be director of development, he said, ‘There’ll be something for Priscilla to do. Don’t worry. She’ll be my hostess for parties and so forth. We’ll keep her busy.’ So I went up there not knowing what I was going to do, but I saw quickly that I was going to be Joe’s secretary and business manager. We were a great team, and I learned a lot from Joe. It wasn’t easy because there were a lot of changes that had to be made. I think both of us made that happen and we’re very proud of that.

Did you work side-by-side with your husband every day?

Yes! We had the old Victorian house down by the library. We had ninth grade girls on our third floor. So we had a dormitory and a beautiful house to live in. We ate our meals down in the dining hall. We were treated like faculty, which was a wonderful thing for them to do. Our dog, Sadie, slept at the top of the stairs of the office, and she would go down to the admissions office to get a few pats and a piece of candy. The thing I miss most is the kids. They were just wonderful and fun. I miss them to this day. It was a great experience. It was a lifesaver for all of us. And our children went to school for free, and that was a great gift. I’m almost in tears here.

What’s one of the biggest changes you made together?

The school had no money. They weren’t getting any money in. Joe pulled it together. There were moments that he had to really fight to do what needed to be done. He’s got every award that’s ever been given by Williston. Thankfully they recognized that what he did was very important. I’m proud of what he did and I’m proud that I helped him.