JC Jamason is a former Central State University student and longtime staff member who has tirelessly worked his way from assisting in the cafeteria to where he is today — building manager of the University Student Center and assistant facilities manager. Learn more about Jamason and his unique journey of hard work, dedication, and lifelong Marauder pride:
Q: Do we get to know what the “JC” stands for, or is that to remain a secret of the ages?
A: [laughs] The ones who know me know the story. I’ll just say that. The “newbies”: they don’t get to get to know it. I would say that the more you get to know me, the more you’ll know what “JC” stands for or where it came from.
Q: How long have you been working in your current roles at Central State?
A: I’m going on two-and-a-half years now. Originally, I started with a contract company called SodexoMagic, which is contracted to do all the food service on campus — as far as catering and dining for our students. I started with them around 2011 and continued until roughly 2021. That’s when I took the position at the school.
Q: What was it that brought you to SodexoMagic?
A: I was actually working at the Speedway across from campus. SodexoMagic came in one morning wanting a whole bunch of coffee. And, just because of my personality, the way that I am, the conversations I had with the management team, they offered me a job on the spot!
They said, “Hey, we’re over at the University, you’ve got good people and customer services, and we could really use you. You’re young, you look like a student, so you’d fit right in with the student crowd. If you ever think about changing careers, come on over.”
Q: What exactly were you doing with SodexoMagic before you moved on to working for Central State?
A: I worked my way up the ladder from food service worker to floor supervisor, then moved up again from floor supervisor to catering coordinator. And then from there, I actually left the company for a little while and moved to Georgia. When I worked for a SodexoMagic down there, they changed my title to senior supervisor.
Some things happened there — you live and you learn — and I moved back here to start all over again. SodexoMagic let me come back as a senior supervisor/catering coordinator. Then the University position became open, the cafeteria where I’d been working moved to the new University Student Center that opened in 2015, and so I’ve been here since the beginning.
Q: As the building manager, what are your main day-to-day duties?
A: I call the job the “babysitter of the building.” [laughs] The Student Center is the hub for students. It has the cafeteria, it has the restaurant downstairs, it has the game center there too. Student Affairs is housed in there. Student Engagement is housed in there. The bookstore is housed in there. Career Services is there.
So, I pretty much make sure the students are doing what they’re supposed to be doing while they’re at the Student Center, while giving them some kind of engagement. Various activities, hosting different events, and working with different University departments on events and activities they may hold there.
I love the morale. I love the family-oriented sensibility that we have here. It really is like home to me. — JC Jamason
Q: If students are interested in working with you, how can they reach out for a position?
A: I do have a staff of about 25 student employees who assist me with different tasks throughout the day, setting up and breaking down different events. Possibly cleaning up when it’s needed. That sort of thing. I always suggest students use Handshake, which was brought on by Career Services.
Once they get a Handshake account, I usually go through and hire five to 10 new student employees from there at the beginning of each semester, since a lot of my employees don’t return or get full-time jobs, or other opportunities that come up for them. If the student already knows they have work study on their FAFSA account, then they can approach me in person with a resume, and then we can sit down and have a talk about it then.
Q: You exude so much Marauder pride that seems to go far beyond your long tenure working here.
A: I actually attended Central State. I didn’t graduate, but I’m interested in going back to school, and when I do that, I want to go back to school here. This is what makes me so driven for work. Even though I didn’t graduate from here, I still see myself as an alum. Central State is home to me.
Central State has been in my blood most of my life. My mom has worked here since my childhood. She’s been in housekeeping here since the time I was in elementary school. So, all I’ve known for so much of my life is Central State. As soon as I graduated high school, I did attend my first two semesters here in Fall 2009 and Spring 2010. I was a business major. But unfortunately, I didn’t pursue it the way I should have. I look back on that, and I regret that. I really do.
When I do go back to school, I want it to be an HBCU, and if I’m going to go to an HBCU, I want it to be Central State. I believe in Maroon and Gold.
Q: Beyond your mother having worked here most of your life, what is it about Central State that draws you here on such an impassioned level?
A: I love the morale. I love the family-oriented sensibility that we have here. It really is like home to me. I think if and when I do come back here, I would take the same major, as well. Considering all the people I’ve gotten to know here and stayed in touch with even while I was gone. That’s also what makes me want to stay here: all the people I know and have worked with over these years, and that includes professors who taught me when I was a student.
Q: What does the future hold for JC Jamason?
A: My long-term goal is to own my own business. I enjoy catering. I do. This is why, when I had the opportunity to do catering for the school, I took it so seriously. To me, it’s art. And so, my end goal is to either start my own catering company or open up a venue where I can do my own catering, different stuff every week.
Q: From your story here, it seems like Central State has been a big part of your improvement and your becoming the man you are today. Would you say this is the case?
A: It definitely matures you. They say college itself matures you. And even without a college degree, just being around Central State did mature me. I’ve been here for over a decade, and a lot of people have told me they’ve seen a big difference from when I first came until now. Just being around all the different professionals. You just take in what they put out, and you use it for however you use it.
I just love being here. I’m dedicated to the students, of course. Like I said, I believe in maroon and gold. I just really love working for the University. I’m a big sponsor for Central State. I even tell students I know graduating from high school that they should go to Central State. I’m like a recruiter for the school. I am proud to have my job here, I’m proud to have been here as long as I have been, and proud to keep serving Central State University.
This article originally appeared on Dayton Weekly News and republished through its partnership with Elevate Dayton.