Annual USD Thanksgiving Project to Renovate Home of Disabled

Project Follows USD’s Core Values of Giving Back to the Community

SAN DIEGO – University of San Diego business students will renovate the home of a disabled Linda Vista man in just two weekends (Nov. 3-4 and 10-11) as part of the ninth annual Thanksgiving House project that teaches students project management skills. The home is located at 5361 Via Aquario in Linda Vista. (Directions: From 163 go west on Genesee and cross Linda Vista Road. Take a left o Boyd Ave. and follow it until Acadia Blvd. Go left on Acadia and right on Via Aquario)

This year’s client is 52-year-old Mark Manion, who sustained life-threatening injuries in 1974 when he was hit by a drunk driver as a teenager. Though doctors said he’d be paralyzed for life, he overcome the odds and was able to walk with a cane. He married and had two children. In 1991, he tripped at a restaurant and broke his neck again and is now confined to a wheel chair. Mr. Manion has been recognized for his advocacy efforts against drunk driving and is a frequent speaker on behalf of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MAAD).

This year’s ambitious project includes completely remodeling the kitchen to make it more accessible to Mr. Manion. Disabled-friendly improvements will be made throughout the house including lowering light switches and making doors and entryways accessible. Landscaping and patio improvements will be made in the front and back yards so he can enjoy the outside.

The Thanksgiving House project provides students with an opportunity to learn project management skills while at the same time to make a contribution to the community by improving the quality of life of one of its citizens.


“We are very excited in undertaking a project of this type that will give back to our neighboring community while also following the core values of our school,” said Irv Dingle and Jessica Kane, the student project managers overseeing the renovation effort.

Donations (both monetary and in-kind) are actively being sought to help pay for some of the expenditures including supplies, tools and other items needed. Volunteers are also encouraged to attend on both weekends and assist with the renovation project.

“We begin each year with very limited resources to perform the work for this extensive and involved project, so we are always in need of a wide range of materials and volunteers,” said USD School of Business Administration Professor Barbara Withers who has overseen the project since its inception in 1998.

Donors to this year’s project to date include A.O. Reed; Cal Turf of Carlsbad; Cell-Crete Corp.; and Lowe’s Companies, Inc. USD’s Burnham-Moores Center for Real Estate has also arranged for donations from Mission Federal Credit Union, Roger and Judy Haughton, Neighborhood National Bank and the Fieldstone Foundation. Faculty and staff from the Burnham-Moores Center have also contributed to the project. Walter Todd also will be providing a relaxing day at its spa for Mark Manion’s wife, Priscilla.

The Thanksgiving House and other similar projects contributed to USD’s graduate business program’s recent ranking in the top 100 of Beyond Grey Pinstripes, a biennial survey looking at how well social and environmental issues are incorporated into the training of future business leaders. USD was ranked 36th.

The University of San Diego is a Catholic institution of higher learning chartered in 1949; the school enrolls approximately 7,500 students and is known for its commitment to teaching, the liberal arts, the formation of values and community service. The inauguration this fall of the Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies brings the University’s total number of schools and colleges to six. Other academic divisions include the College of Arts and Sciences and the schools of Business Administration, Education, Law and Nursing and Health Sciences.


About the University of San Diego

The University of San Diego sets the standard for an engaged, contemporary Catholic university where innovative Changemakers confront humanity’s urgent challenges. With more than 8,000 students from 75 countries and 44 states, USD is the youngest independent institution on the U.S. News & World Report list of top 100 universities in the United States. USD’s eight academic divisions include the College of Arts and Sciences, the School of Business, the Shiley-Marcos School of Engineering, the School of Law, the School of Leadership and Education Sciences, the Hahn School of Nursing and Health Science, the Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies, and the Division of Professional and Continuing Education. USD recently concluded our successful $317M Leading Change: The Campaign for USD, which represented the most ambitious fundraising effort in the history of the university. In September 2016, USD introduced Envisioning 2024, a strategic plan that capitalizes on the university’s recent progress and aligns new strategic goals with current strengths to help shape a vision for the future as the university looks ahead to its 75th anniversary in the year 2024.