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Vickie Newton, William C. Harris to kick off Master Class Series

February 22, 2012

Success, seriously!

The Master Class Series, co-sponsored by St. Louis Community College-Forest Park and St. Louis Business Journal, kicks off on Tuesday, Feb. 28, in the Mildred E. Bastian Center for the Performing Arts, 5600 Oakland Ave., St. Louis, MO 63110. It is free and open to the public.

The series, the brainchild of Angelic Cole, an assistant professor in business administration, is designed to give students a taste of life lessons by local leaders. The first two speakers will be Vickie Newton, KMOV-TV (Ch. 4) anchor and reporter, and William C. Harris, a proud graduate of St. Louis Community College-Forest Park, who is a prominent funeral home director in St. Louis.

The program will begin at 11 a.m. and conclude at 12:15 p.m., with each speaker discussing their career, and a question-and-answer session with the audience following each presentation. A student reception will follow from 12:15 to 1 p.m. on the lower level of the theater.

Vickie Newton  
Vickie Newton

Newton has been at KMOV since 2002, winning an Emmy as Best Anchorperson in 2003. Before arriving in St. Louis, she was an anchor for CNN Headline News and an anchor/reporter at WSB-TV in Atlanta. Previously, she worked at WDIV in Detroit, KMBC and WDAF in Kansas City, and KATV in Little Rock, Ark.

While in St. Louis, she serves on the board of directors for the Alzheimer’s Association and Opera Theatre. She was selected as one of St. Louis Business Journal’s “40 under 40,” and has extensively worked on literacy issues. She received her master’s degree in journalism from the University of Detroit, and credits her mother, an English teacher, with instilling the importance of education and the value of reading. In her spare time, she enjoys reading and playing the piano.

William C. Harris funeral director  
William C. Harris

Harris is the owner of the funeral home that bears his name, William C. Harris Funeral Directors and Cremation Service, on Halls Ferry Road in North St. Louis County. Within the last year, he purchased a funeral home in Belleville, Ill. as well.

He believes that a funeral director should be a community leader, and has dedicated his career to being a strong role model as a local businessman. He graduated from STLCC-Forest Park in 1993 with an associate degree in funeral service education, and became the youngest licensed funeral director in Missouri at age 18. He has served as the secretary of the Missouri State Funeral Directors Association since 1999.

His wife, Garnet, and several of his six children work in the business. To date, he is the only African-American funeral director in this area with the certification – Certified Funeral Service Practitioner, which he earned in 2004 and is 30 credit hours of continuing education. He grew up in University City, and began working at the Ellis Funeral Home when he was only 12 years old.

The Master Class series will feature two more speakers in March.

For more information regarding the event, contact Angelic Cole at 314-644-9771 or acole56@stlcc.edu