2000 Van Meter Outstanding Alumni Achievement Award to Marcia “Trinnie” Turner
Marcia “Trinnie” Turner, class of 1983, sets her goals high and is determined to reach them. But, then, that’s a common occurrence in her family.
“Mother taught us that we could do anything and be anything,” she said, in accepting the first William and Allene Guthrie Van Meter Outstanding Alumni Achievement Award at the annual Labette Community College Donor Appreciation Luncheon last fall. “Mother said to believe in ourselves, to reach for our dreams, and that whatever we wanted to accomplish was achievable.”
Trinnie is owner and president of Turner Communications, Inc., which has interests in television, stations in several states and has applications pending for others. She was the only black woman to be sole owner of a U.S. television station when her company owned KWCV-TV in Wichita, a station she no longer owns.
Before getting into the television business she owned a liquor store, three nightclubs, a used car business, a cigar distributorship, and pay telephones.
In high school Trinnie was able to skip her junior year and graduate at the age of 16. At LCC she was regularly on the dean’s list and the president’s list. She was a member of Phi Theta Kappa honor society and Phi Beta Lambda business society. She graduated from LCC in 1983, took her bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Pittsburg State University, and received a gifted endorsement from Emporia State University. She taught gifted students in the Wichita public school system for eight years. But, her strong entrepreneurial spirit called. After several business successes she liquidated her assets and focused her attention on television.
In the late 1990s she began negotiating to purchase the construction permit for KWCV-TV from a Wichita owner. The Federal Communications Commission declared the permit expired before a deal was complete. Trinnie did not give up. She hired new attorneys and a new chief engineer. She went to Washington, D.C. for a face-to-face meeting with members of the FCC. She convinced them of the need for another television station in Wichita and that she was the one who could get the station on the air within six months. The station opened in August of 1999 as a Warner Brothers affiliate and today employs 27 persons.
Trinnie is the youngest of seven brothers and sisters born in Parsons. All are corporate executives in their fields of pharmaceuticals, broadcasting, human resources, and international delivery services. Their father, Herman Joseph Turner, Sr., retired from the Missouri, Kansas, and Texas (Katy) railroad then worked for 30 years at the Army ammunition plant in Parsons. Their mother, Eletha Markham Turner, cared for her children until they were grown. Trinnie enjoys water sports, traveling, walking, hiking, racquetball, downhill skiing, painting, computers, photography, filmmaking, and playing the violin and drums.
The Outstanding Alumni Achievement Award is named for William and Allene Guthrie Van Meter who died in Santa Fe, New Mexico in 1999 and left a $791,000 estate gift to LCC. William was a 1929 graduate of Parsons Junior College and Allene taught romance languages at the college. They retired to Santa Fe after he retired as a commander in the U.S. Navy.