Jim Chanin ’87

President, Rollins Alumni Association Board of Directors

Jim Chanin

When Jim Chanin was a high school senior in New York, he visited a number of colleges before coming to Rollins. “When I came here, I immediately felt like I was home,” he said. “I knew this was the place for me.”

Chanin graduated with a major in political science, but didn’t pursue it as a career. He moved to Boulder, Colorado and went to work as a carpenter. “I got a job bartending at night and framing houses during the day,” he said. “I knew I wanted to build homes from start to finish, so I learned the business from the ground up with Centex Homes for four years. I went out on my own in 1992. Soon after, I started development as a means to add margin to projects, and expanded into multi-family dwellings and mixed-use projects. The projects kept getting larger.”

Chanin says that his Rollins education provided him with exactly the intended purpose: It taught him how to think. And it also provided something else. “Rollins is a giant family that engenders a sense of love and loyalty. It belies its size. There’s hardly anywhere you can go in the world and not meet someone who has a connection to the school. That’s why I’ve devoted so much energy and time to giving back to the College. Rollins prepared me in so many ways to be out there in the world.

“W. B. Yeats wrote that education is not about filling a pail, but about lighting a fire. Rollins understands this, and has inculcated that in our lives as students.”


Major: Political science—I took classes with Professor Rick Foglesong the first year he came to Rollins.

Hometown: New York, NY. I graduated from Trinity School.

Favorite classes: Political Philosophy

Best place on campus: Gale Hall, the X-Club

Favorite local eatery: Decades—for their dollar pitcher nights. I’m not even sure they served food so can it be considered an eatery?

Favorite book: Moo, Baa, La La La by Sandra Boynton and Les Misérables by Victor Hugo

Career ambition: After graduation, I knew I didn’t want to go back to New York. Two fraternity brothers were driving out to Boulder to get jobs, so I hitched a ride with them, taking a duffle bag and a stereo. I’ve been there ever since.


Hometown: Boulder, CO

Family: My wife, Kim, and my twin children, Will and Holland (5)

Career: President of Chanin Development, a builder and developer of residential real estate

Volunteer work: President of the Rollins Alumni Association Board of Directors and a member of the Boards of Habitat for Humanity, the Home Builders Association, St. John’s Church, and the Urban Land Institute

Hobbies: Tennis, bicycling, traveling, cooking, and spending time with my family

Favorite R&R: Hanging out with my kids, coaching soccer and ice hockey; also, riding bikes and climbing trees—same stuff as when I was 10

Something people may not know about me: I ran a 2:48:12 marathon in New York City in 1994. That was the last time I raced. The ice kept falling out of my drink so I jog now.

What I miss most about college life: You had 600 friends and you knew everybody.