Waiel Turner, 20, was not planning on going to college. He thought about entering the U.S. Air Force or becoming a police officer for the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department.
Enrolling at Harris-Stowe State University was strictly happenstance.
In 2017, he accompanied a friend to the campus in midtown St. Louis where she was registering for classes. An admissions counselor told Turner he should enroll. Two days later, Turner became a college student.
Turner said it is the family environment that makes Harris-Stowe home for him. Like many historically black colleges and universities, Harris-Stowe is struggling to keep its tight-knit family of students and staff together in the face of shaky finances and relative lack of state resources.