Bonner Center

Bonner Center History

Daub House was built in 1862 as a home for a Massachusetts-born shoemaker. In 1948, Oberlin College bought the house and it became the home of college librarian Dorothy Daub.

The house came close to demolition in the 1970s when construction began for Mudd Learning Center. However, officials decided to spare Daub House and several other neighboring houses.

Today Daub House is home to the Bonner Center for Community-Engaged Learning, Teaching, and Research, which recently celebrated its 15th year of service.

Aside from the full-time staff, many students work and support the Community Service Resource Center housed on the second floor of Daub House.  Here, the CSRC staff members match students seeking volunteer opportunities with local organizations. 

Daniel Gardner | Founder, Community Leader

Bonner Center was founded in 1998 by Daniel J. Gardner, who also was the first director, a position he held until he left the college in 2003. In the three years before 1998, he served as assistant to the president for community affairs at Oberlin. Prior to that role, he had served as an executive with the Education Commission of the States, a group dedicated to assisting various government entities with decision-making regarding policy on all levels of education.

Gardner served on Oberlin City Council from 2004 to 2008, and during his tenure helped to engineer a landmark tax sharing agreement with a neighboring township, partnered with Oberlin Schools on a wholesale, progressive reform of the local tax system, and developed policies and initiatives to make Oberlin a carbon-neutral community.