News & Features

Blackjack Resident Still Learning, Achieving with Fontbonne Options

posted Jan 18, 2008

(Special to the Independent News)

December 20, 2007

Debbie Jones, 52, comes home a little bit later on Thursday nights. After working all day in management at Laclede Gas Company, she gets together with her study team to work on their latest class project. That's right, class project.

Jones works full time, is a wife, mother of three, grandmother of seven and an MBA student at Fontbonne University OPTIONS.

"I'm not doing this for my job," says the Blackjack resident. "I'm just doing this for myself, for my own sense of accomplishment."

Jones started college right out of high school, but was soon married and had a child. She tried to go back a few times, but it never worked out as her family and responsibilities grew. In May 2005, she enrolled in the BBA program at the North County OPTIONS facility.

"I knew when I started with the bachelor's degree that I would keep going toward the MBA," says Jones. "While you've got that momentum, you might as well keep going."

With her children and grandchildren in attendance, Debbie graduated in May 2007. Just a month or so later, she was enrolled in the first Fontbonne OPTIONS MBA group offered at the new North County site located at Paddock Hills Plaza Shopping Center in Florissant.

Jones says the MBA courses are tougher than the undergraduate work, but she really likes all of the practical application.

"The coursework is practical, right here, right now kind of work," she says.

Jones may be the oldest student in her class, but doesn't mind.

"I find it rather interesting. I get a different level of respect, and in many situations, I've been able to give real life examples of what we're learning in class," she says. "But I've also drawn so much from my younger classmates. I think it's helped me better understand my younger colleagues at work."

Jones says she would definitely encourage other adults, no matter what their age, to find out more about the OPTIONS programs.

"At Fontbonne, they made it possible," she says. "You knew it was something that you could really do -- and I've made lifelong friends."

Jones anticipates graduating with an MBA in August of 2009, and knows that retirement could happen soon after that.

"I'm not sure what I will do. I'd love to open up a frozen custard place, and I could see myself running an office for my daughter's medical practice. Having the degrees from Fontbonne will give me more choices about what I want to do."

With its main campus located in Clayton, the university has also established OPTIONS classroom sites in South County, Chesterfield and downtown St. Louis.

OPTIONS is designed specifically to accommodate the needs of busy, working adults with convenient and accelerated undergraduate and graduate degree programs.

For more information, call 314-863-2220 or visit

with permission, copyright (2007), The Independent News