Skip to main content

Fontbonne Alumna Vivian Gibson Debuts Award-Winning Book at Age 71

HomeEckelkamp College of Global Business and Professional StudiesBusiness AdministrationFontbonne Alumna Vivian Gibson Debuts Award-Winning Book at Age 71
Fontbonne alumna Vivian Gibson has won numerous honors for her writing.

Five years after retiring from her role as senior director of volunteer recruitment at Big Brother Big Sisters of Eastern Missouri, Fontbonne alumna Vivian Gibson was cleaning her home office when she stumbled upon a stack of memories, musings and motifs she had written over the years. Instead of shredding them like she had planned, Gibson resolved to piece them together into a memoir.

At 66 years old, Gibson joined a creative writing workshop for older adults led by the St. Louis Oasis at the Center of Clayton. There, she wrote “From Sunup to Sundown,” an essay about her childhood in Mill Creek Valley, a predominantly Black community located in downtown St. Louis that was demolished as part of the city’s largest urban renewal project in 1959.

“I was stunned when my friends at the workshop encouraged me to submit my work,” Gibson said. “Looking back, it seems like everyone knew I was a writer before I did, but that’s when things really started falling into place.”

In 2019, “From Sunup to Sundown” was published in “The St. Louis Anthology,” which includes nearly 70 pieces penned by St. Louis writers, journalists, clergy, poets and activists. It was also the catalyst for Gibson’s memoir, “The Last Children of Mill Creek.” Published by Belt Publishing in April 2020, the book explores Gibson’s experience growing up in a segregated, post-World War II neighborhood where outside forces (unknown to her at the time) were planning the destruction of her home.

“The book is about a family, and how we lived, worked and played,” said Gibson. “It’s about a community with schools and churches and stores, as well as the humanity of a people with a history that has gone largely untold. But above all else, it’s a story of survival.”

Now 71, Gibson has earned numerous honors for her writing. In 2020, she won the Missouri Humanities Literary Achievement Award and was named to Poets & Writers5 Over 50, which recognizes five debut authors over the age of 50. Her work has also been featured on St. Louis Public Radio, in St. Louis Magazine, St. Louis American, and more.

A parade on Market Street in Mill Creek Valley, where Vivian Gibson grew up.

“For someone who never aspired to be a writer, this has turned out to be one of the most amazing experiences of my life,” Gibson said.

Gibson managed numerous careers before becoming an author. She spent several years in New York City recruiting for McKinsey & Company while obtaining her associate’s degree in apparel design from the Fashion Institute of Technology. She then moved to Africa where she began a clothing import business. After the 1980 Liberian coup, she returned to St. Louis where she began a 20-year stint as volunteer recruitment manager at Saint Louis Public Schools.

Aspiring to earn her bachelor’s degree, Gibson enrolled in Fontbonne’s business administration program in 1992. Although she had experience launching and overseeing fashion and millinery businesses, catered corporate lunch boxes, and sold her own hot sauces and seasonings, Gibson wanted to improve her understanding of business theories and best practices.

“I chose Fontbonne’s program because it was structured in way that made it more convenient and practical for busy adult students like me to get their degrees,” Gibson said. “I also loved the sense of community and camaraderie at Fontbonne. I’m a people person, so I enjoyed the one-on-one interactions with my professors and peers.”

After graduating from Fontbonne in 1994, Gibson received her master’s degree in nonprofit management from Washington University where she was honored as one of the university’s most outstanding students in 2012.

“I think my love of learning and curiosity about everything has been instrumental in helping me get to where I am now,” Gibson said.

“The Last Children of Mill Creek” is available for purchase on Amazon, at Left Bank Books and on Gibson’s website.

We are using cookies to give you the best experience. You can find out more about which cookies we are using or switch them off in privacy settings.
AcceptPrivacy Settings


  • GDPR Privacy Policy
  • Google Analytics

GDPR Privacy Policy

Privacy Policy

Overall Policy

Thank you for visiting our website. We’re pleased to share our policy regarding the use of information received here. Privacy is a matter of concern to us. We are committed to protecting your privacy and the security of the information that you may provide to us.

Personal Information

We do not track individual users. Your email address or other personal information is not collected unless you provide it on a form, survey or application. We will not sell or otherwise make available any personally identifiable information to any organization not directly affiliated with us. We will comply with legitimate government or legal requests as necessary to protect our organization or to comply with laws.

Traffic Analysis

We analyze traffic to this site. We collect statistical data on an aggregated basis through Google Analytics. For example, we collect information about the domain names of servers that bring visitors to our site. We count the number of visitors and keep track of where they go on our site. Such information allows us to find out what areas users visit most frequently and what services they access the most, which enables us to create a better overall user experience. To gather such data, we use cookie technology, which collects data in aggregate form, not by individual user.


As referenced above, we use cookie technology for traffic analysis. Cookies are small pieces of information stored by your browser on your computer’s hard drive. The cookies placed by our server do not gather personal information about you, do not provide any way for us to contact you and do not gather information about your computer. The cookies simply allow us to enhance our site by letting us know what sections are visited most often. The use of cookies is common on the Internet, and our use of them is similar to that of other reputable online organizations.

Links To Other Sites

Our site contains links to other sites and Internet resources. We are not responsible for the privacy practices or the content of these third-party websites and Internet resources.

Updates To Privacy Policy

We may update the privacy policy periodically, and we encourage visitors to review them on a regular basis.

Last revised: June 2015

Google Analytics

Fontbonne University to close in summer 2025 leaving a legacy of more than 100 years of Catholic higher education.Learn More