James O'Bannon—Finding Joy in Community Service

"The idea of service to others becomes part of their daily consciousness, influencing how they function within their family, community, and work environments."

Construction Management professor James O' Bannon has mentored students both inside and outside the classroom since coming to Chico State in 1978. One way he mentors is by involving students in community service projects such as the Blitz Build project.

The Blitz Build project brought together student, faculty, staff, and community volunteers to build two small houses for Catalyst Domestic Violence Services—in only nine days.

In 2007, Professor O'Bannon traveled with students, faculty, and staff from the College of Engineering, Computer Science, and Construction Management to New Orleans to rebuild homes destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. O'Bannon's mentoring of students was highlighted by then dean of the college, Ken Derucher: “Dr. O'Bannon took 55 students, most of whom knew little of the construction trades, and taught them most aspects of construction related to rehabilitation of housing. The students learned and applied their newly found skills working on 18 houses in one week and moving in six families. With Professor O'Bannon's mentoring, this was a genuine service-learning experience, one that will forever remain in the hearts of students.”

In Chico, O'Bannon has been a founder and board member of the Boys and Girls Club, a board member and project supervisor for Habitat for Humanity, a member of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Scholarship Committee, and a founder and co-sponsor of Dream Keepers.

For his leadership, his excellence as a professor, and his outstanding record of philanthropy to his profession and within the community Professor O'Bannon was selected for the 2008-2009 Outstanding Faculty Service Award at CSU, Chico.

“My desire is to create a university environment that provides students the opportunity to experience the joy of sacrificial giving,” says O'Bannon. “When our students experience this joy, the idea of service to others becomes part of their daily consciousness, influencing how they function within their family, community, and work environments.”

Former student Coleman W. Jones, now an engineer with Rudoph & Sletten Inc., says, “Dr. O'Bannon has united people in such a way that the bonds created can never be broken or forgotten. He has shown leadership, accountability, and dedication in ways that many people only imagine. I am extremely thankful to have met and been influenced by a person so hard working and willing to help others.”

James O'Bannon