Marshall-Donnelly-Combs Funeral Home

201 25Th Ave North, Nashville, TN


Mildred Francille Bergquist

November 24, 1946November 17, 2019

M. Fräncille Bergquist Nashville - M. Fräncille Bergquist died peacefully on November 17, 2019. Fräncille is survived by her sister-in-law, GaeNell Bergquist Trommald (Honolulu, Hawai’i), cousins Grant Bergquist, Roger Evans, Carol Harrington, and Kim Harrington. She was preceded in death by her parents, Emanuel (Mac) W. Bergquist and Francille (Joan) (Harrington) and brother Eric. Fräncille was born in Shreveport, Louisiana, November 24, 1944. After graduating from Mt. Caramel Academy in Louisiana, she attended LSU for her freshman year of college where she began her lifelong passion for studying languages. When her family moved to Italy, she attended the University of Barcelona in Spain. Upon returning to the States, she enrolled at Texas Tech University graduating cum laude with a major in Spanish in 1968. She pursued graduate work at Texas Tech earning a Ph.D. in Spanish in 1977. That same year, Fräncille came to Vanderbilt University and taught in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese for 35 years. During that time, she served stints as Resident Director of the Vanderbilt-in-Spain Program in Madrid where she traveled extensively with undergraduate students instilling in them her love and passion of the Spanish language and cultures. Committed to the appreciation of world languages and cultures, she was instrumental in establishing McTyeire International House, the first foreign language student residence on the Vanderbilt campus. She actively served as advisor to the Spanish hall. In 1983 she was appointed Associate Dean of Academic Affairs of the College of Arts and Science where she oversaw the undergraduate advising program and monitored students’ academic progress until her retirement in 2013 when she was awarded Professor of Spanish, Emerita by Vanderbilt. Fräncille was an active member of numerous professional organizations promoting foreign language teaching and education. One of the organizations dearest to her was the Tennessee Foreign Language Teaching Association (TFLTA) of which she served as Treasurer from 1995-2018. Ever a presence at the yearly conventions, she always looked forward to rekindling old friendships and making new ones. She assisted in the establishment of the Aliene Click Scholarship so that local and state teachers of world languages would have additional funding made available to them to attend the annual conference and workshops. During the course of her teaching career and participation in professional organizations, Fräncille earned many honors and accolades. One of the most meaningful honors awarded to her came from her beloved Vanderbilt University where she received the Madison Sarratt Prize for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching in 1983. She was devoted to her students and them to her. Students commented frequently that they wanted the “Bergquist experience” before they graduated. In 2003 she was the recipient of the Chancellor’s Cup for outstanding contributions to student-faculty relationships outside the classroom. In 2015 she endowed the Fräncille Bergquist Scholarship, a 4-year scholarship awarded to entering first-year undergraduate students. It was her personal philosophy that education allows opportunity and with opportunity, the sky is the limit. As Associate Dean, she was known as “the heart of the A&S experience for generations of students”. She was appointed to numerous academic and administrative committees and served them with wisdom and dedication. Ever interested in student affairs, she excelled in her relationships forged with students, advisees and colleagues. The scope of her teaching reached beyond classroom walls and into the hearts of the people with whom she came in contact. Her kind encouraging words served as a tonic to parents, students and faculty who sought out her sage advice. She was known for her quick wit, sense of humor, use of analogies, speech which was salt and peppered with many Texan and Louisianian expressions, and her unwavering support for all things sports, especially Vanderbilt sports. She could cite game stats as well as any seasoned sports broadcaster, no matter what the game. She felt particularly honored to carry the anchor onto the Vanderbilt football field the year of her retirement. Fräncille will be remembered most for the positive influence and comforting words of support to all who sought her guidance. Wherever she went, she did not meet a stranger. One felt as if you were the most important person in the room when speaking with her as she always gave you her undivided attention. Although an intensely private person by nature, she exuded love, acceptance and compassion which were rooted in her deep and abiding Catholic faith. One could not help but be touched by her selflessness, unfailing kindness, warmth and generosity of spirit. Through her example, she taught many, shedding light on how to navigate life’s challenges inside and outside the classroom. Her bright smile and twinkle in the eye reassured one that everything would be just fine. Ever the optimist, she saw the glass as always half full. She appealed to so many people for so many reasons. Shortly before retirement, she became active playing trivia at a neighborhood pub. A member of the “Culture Vultures” trivia team, she was fiercely competitive and proved to be a formidable opponent. Upon retiring, she relished meeting up with friends, former students and colleagues over extended luncheons and dinners. The family would like to express appreciation to her friends, former students and colleagues. Special thanks to her friend Mimi Hall, her devoted friend and colleague Vickie Latham in the College of A&S Deans’ Office, Fr. Mark Beckman at St. Henry Catholic Church, Fr. John Raphael, Chaplain at St. Thomas Hospital, and to all the staff and medical personnel at St. Thomas for their loving and compassionate care. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations be made to the Fräncille Bergquist Scholarship, TFLTA Aliene Click Scholarship, St. Henry Catholic Church, St Jude Foundation, or the St. Vincent de Paul Society of Nashville. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Tuesday, November 26 at 10 a.m. at St. Henry Catholic Church, 6401 Harding Road, Nashville, TN. Private interment for family to follow. No visitation is scheduled. Vaya con Dios, querida amiga.


  • Funeral Service Tuesday, November 26, 2019


Mildred Francille Bergquist

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Thomas Schwartz

November 26, 2019

Francille was the true heart of the Vanderbilt community, a person who embodied the ideal of teaching as a vocation. Vanderbilt, like most places, does not always seem very warm and loving. But Francille brought real love, care, and concern to her vocation as a teacher and dean of students. I arrived at Vanderbilt in 1990 and quickly discovered that Francille was the person to talk with about any student having problems, or any concerns about their academic or personal behaviors. She wanted to see students succeed, and she did everything she could to help them overcome their problems and make it through their four years. She brought that same optimism and spirit to her dealings with her colleagues. There was no one I admired more, or whose smile could make my day. God bless you and keep you my dear friend. You made this world a kinder and more loving place.

Kiran Akkineni

November 24, 2019

Dean Bergquist gave me hope when I had none. I lost my father under terrible circumstances and my full scholarship within weeks of each other. I borrowed just enough to cover a semester of school from an aunt. While professors, friends, and fraternity were largely unavailable or unwilling to help, she leaned in and helped me navigate my options. Although she told me upfront that she didn't know what she could do, she also promised me that she would do her best to help. She advocated for me, and set the stage so that I could earn my scholarship back. Had that not happened, I really dont know where I'd be today. I am forever in debt. Thank you, and rest in peace.

Scott Smith

November 24, 2019

I am so very sorry to learn of the passing of your dear sister, Francille. I can still fondly recall Nancy and I meeting her for the first time at Andrew's graduation dinner from Villanova. I laugh when I remember her engaging Andrew and Michael in some sports trivia and stats that I'm not sure they even knew what the answers were. And I thought at the time, OMG, this lady is definitely not some ivory tower academician...she was so much fun!
God bless and keep you as you both grieve your loss and at the same time fondly recall loving memories of matchless times spent with Francille.
With love and warm hugs,

Kathy Hutchison

November 23, 2019

Dean B was my favorite person on campus. Her laugh was so special and her love of her students priceless. Vanderbilt would not be the school it is now without her contribution. She will be so missed.

Brooke L. Palmer

November 23, 2019

What news to read this morning...The impact Dean Bergquist had on my life and my college career was immeasurable.
When I was told my Sophomore year by an advisor, you’ll never graduate Vanderbilt with a Molecular Biology degree and keep playing lacrosse, we don’t do that here. (Wait, what?)
I went to her (she was my Spanish professor and advisor as well, as I minored in it) hysterical.
She looked at me and said, “well we will just prove him wrong.” She never let me waiver. She always pushed me.

I don’t tell this story often, but about a week before graduation she called me. All the seniors go to Destin and I was there with my sorority. She said, “I need you to come back to Nashville. We have to talk.”
I, was stunned, heartbroken at the thought of something was wrong and I wouldn’t graduate, I had no idea what was happening, but she wouldn’t tell me.
I flew back that day, and waited outside her office all but crying 😢, nervous and terrified.
I walked in, sat down, and she said;
“Remember what I told you?”
And I said “yes, ma’am, you know how hard I have worked.”
She looked at me for a minute. Sat back in her chair. She knew I was about to just lose my marbles.

She stood up, walked over to me. Took my hands, and said. “I just had to tell you in person, see your face, how proud I am of you, you did it. B.S, Molecular Biology.”

I collapsed into her, crying and hugging her.
She believed in me, always. And she handed me my diploma on stage that next week, both of us gleaming with pride. Her belief in me was stronger than any opinion.
Don’t let ANYONE or ANYTHING stand in the way of what you think you can do. She wasn’t going to let it happen for me, and I take that lesson with me always.

Thank you Dean Bergquist. You truly forever changed my life.
Wow, Heaven just got a little kinder. ❤️ #govandy