News & Features

Building Success at Fontbonne

Working at Kwame made Tanja Kendall thirsty for knowledge

By Anne Shaw Heinrich for the St. Louis American

June 14, 2007

Working full time while going to school full time was nothing new to Fontbonne University OPTIONS student Tanja Kendall. She earned her bachelor's degree in management at Columbia College while working as a senior project administrator with the Kwame Building Group.

"When I started working for Kwame, I didn't even have my undergraduate degree," says Kendall. "Being surrounded by so many positive, educated people, you can't help but want to become one of them. I really got motivated to get up and do something."

Kwame Building Group, a minority-owned construction management firm, was one of the key players in the planning and building of the new St. Louis Cardinals Busch Stadium, which opened in April 2006.

Kendall says she found nothing but encouragement and support from her colleagues when she decided to pursue her education. She enjoyed tuition reimbursement, as well as a flexible work schedule. After a short break, she forged ahead for a master's degree and found what Fontbonne University OPTIONS had to offer appealing. She settled on the Master of Management program and started in August 2006. She expects to graduate in March of 2008.

"I would tell anyone who is contemplating going to school to not allow fear to stop you," says Kendall. "Don't be intimidated. You'll be so surprised and proud of what you can accomplish, especially when you are walking across that stage to get your diploma."

Kendall attends classes one night a week at the main campus located in Clayton. The university has also established OPTIONS classroom sites in North and South Counties, Chesterfield and downtown St. Louis.

Fontbonne OPTIONS is known for catering to busy adults with onsite book delivery, preplanned curriculums, one-time-registration, same-night-a-week classes and locked-in tuition. Most OPTIONS courses are five to eight weeks in length and bachelor and master degree programs have been sequenced to be completed in about two years or less.

"The Master of Management program gives us an overview of things we might encounter as a manager: budgeting, human resources, marketing, even law," she says. "I'll be prepared to be a more well-rounded manager when I'm finished."

As for long-term goals, Kendall has them and believes anything is possible.

"I would welcome the chance to be one of the few women project managers for my company," she says. "And I want to be an example to the other administrative staff. I would encourage everyone to pursue their education."

Fontbonne University has been a provider of high-quality educational programs for more than 80 years. For more information about your OPTIONS, call 314-863-2220 or visit the website at

with permission, copyright (2007) St. Louis American / Choices & Careers