News & Features

Third time's a charm for OPTIONS student

posted Nov 17, 2008

By Anne Shaw Heinrich for the St. Louis American

October 9, 2008

Maurice Belle likes the format and convenience of Fontbonne University OPTIONS so much that he's started working on his third degree with the program and convinced his wife to enroll as well.

"I've talked to quite a few people about OPTIONS," says Belle. "I think the fact that the classes are the same night each week is a huge selling point. It's not easy, but once you get into that routine, you can stay on task and finish."

Belle was working as a customer service representative for Charter Communications when he started with OPTIONS Gateway to work on his general education requirements. He moved tight into the BBA program, which he completed in 2007. In addition to the program's convenience, Belle appreciated the support he received from not only his instructors, but also the administrative staff and his fellow students.

"It's so much more pleasing to be in class with other adults," he says. "Everyone on my study team started together in the Gateway curriculum and finished the BBA together. We all had one another's support."

Belle, who now works as a contract analyst, started work on the OPTIONS MBA in January 2008. He is also enrolled in law school at St. Louis University, where he is completing an internship with the State of Missouri's Public Defender's Office.

"It's pretty safe to say that when I'm not working, I'm studying," muses Belle, who credits his move toward a law degree to a business law instructor he had at Fontbonne.

"I've always been fascinated with law," says Belle. "This instructor had a lot of experience with international law and taught the class so well that it really got me to thinking about the career I could have combining business and law."

Having a support system in place has been a key component to Belle's success thus far. His wife, Sonja, will complete the OPTIONS BA in Organizational Studies in the spring of 2009. The two have managed to work out an evening class schedule that allows at least one of them to be home with their son, Xavier, 10.When they do have scheduling conflicts, they can rely on Belle's parents for help with their son. They're able to do homework at home, but do make family treks to the library for study.

"We make sure Xavier brings something along to work on," says Belle. "He understands that it's important to get a good education, and that this is important to Mom and Dad. We feel like we're sending him a good message."

Four years from now, Belle will have completed all of his schooling and says a big family celebration will be in order.He anticipates going into corporate or business law, but says the future is wide open.

"There are so many directions I can go," he says.

Fontbonne OPTIONS is designed specifically to accommodate the needs of busy, working adults with convenient, practical and accelerated undergraduate and graduate degree programs. OPTIONS locations include Fontbonne's Clayton campus, Florissant, South County, Chesterfield and Downtown.

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

with permission, copyright (2008) St. Louis American / Choices & Careers