Celebrating a legacy of service: Bon Appétit’s Jim O’Brien passes the torch

Photo of Jim Boland and Jim O'Brien
Incoming Resident District Manager Jim Boland (left) poses with Jim O’Brien (right), who is bidding farewell to the CWRU community after 14 years heading up dining services.

After 14 years as Bon Appétit at Case Western Reserve University’s Resident District Manager, Jim O’Brien is bidding farewell to the CWRU community.

As the leader of Bon Appétit, the dining services provider on campus, Jim successfully guided the dining program through a tremendous period of growth in CWRU’s history. During his tenure, meal plan enrollment has swelled to well over 3,600 students. As CWRU grew, Jim never lost sight of the needs of students, serving as a tireless advocate for their interests within the administration.

Jim played an instrumental role in expanding CWRU’s dining facilities as more students arrived on campus each year. He oversaw the opening of Leutner Commons, which won a grand prize out of all residential dining concepts at the National Association of College and University Food Services (NACUFS) Awards in 2012. More recently, Jim worked tirelessly with counterparts at CWRU to open the remodeled Fribley Commons and bring Plum Market Kitchen to campus.

But descriptions of these large-scale successes don’t truly capture Jim’s consistent and methodical stewardship of the dining program, which he has adapted over time to meet the changing palates and preferences of generations of Case students. “I’ve been honored to serve with Jim, who has been at the forefront of delivering hospitality to CWRU and has positively impacted the well-being of so many in the campus community,” says Regional Vice President Randy De Mers.

Through it all, Jim has led CWRU’s dining services with professionalism and a love for the people of Case Western Reserve. “It’s been a remarkable relationship with Case and I’ve been blessed to have great people to work with,” says Jim. “You get what you give, and at Case it’s been a lot of good.”

“Jim O’Brien’s dedication and customer focused leadership over the past fourteen years have been key in raising the level of our campus dining program. His efforts on behalf of the CWRU community are greatly appreciated,” says Dick Jamieson Vice President for Campus Services.

As Jim O’Brien transitions out of his role this summer, Bon Appétit at CWRU’s Director of Operations Jim Boland has been promoted to the Resident District Manager position. An 8-year veteran of CWRU’s dining services team, Jim Boland brings a deep knowledge of the dining program and plans to build on Jim O’Brien’s work by focusing on hospitality and engagement with students.

As COVID-19 has waned, Boland sees an opportunity to reinvigorate connection and community, bringing the dining program to life for students. “We’re hosting more kitchen tours, meeting weekly with student government, and showcasing our local and sustainable sourcing policies – it’s all about engagement,” he says.

Boland will be supported by Bon Appétit District Manager Kristopher Murray, who now supports the Bon Appétit team at CWRU. Kristopher, who spent much of last year on campus preparing for the transition, brings extensive experience at large colleges and universities. “Jim Boland is a dynamic leader who has the values and energy that we really want on campus,” says Kristopher. “We’re excited to elevate our program as we head into this next phase of dining at Case Western Reserve.”