Annual Faculty Lecturer 2005-2006
James Chesher was born in a bamboo shack on New Years Day, 1942. His mother, Melita Castillo, a native Filipina; his father, Lt. Robert Chesher, an American soldier. Fleeing the Japanese invasion of Manila, Melita gave birth to Jim, aided by a midwife. Taken prisoner with the surrender of American forces, Jim’s father endured the Bataan March and three years as a POW. He was among thousands of prisoners lost at sea by friendly fire, while being transported in enemy ships near the war’s end. In 1947, Melita emigrated with Jim to the United States, so that he could enjoy the benefits of American citizenship.
After three years in Toledo, Ohio, Jim and his mother moved to California. His mother remarried, had a daughter, and the family settled into the now idealized American life of the 1950’s. Graduating from San Jose State as an English major, Jim received his B.A. in 1964, a secondary teaching credential the following year, and began teaching at Abraham Lincoln High School in San Jose.
In 1969, Jim left secondary teaching to pursue graduate studies in philosophy at U.C. Santa Barbara, completing his M.A. in 1972. From 1975 until 1990, he was an adjunct instructor at Santa Barbara City College, and for several years at Antioch College, while working full time from 1973 until 1990 as a partner in Pacific Painting Company, with his friend and former classmate in philosophy, Bob Latham.
Since 1990, Jim has been a full time instructor in the SBCC Philosophy Dept. He has served as the Social Science Division Chair, on the Board of the Instructors Association, and as Social Science Division Senator on the Academic Senate.
Jim was Faculty Advisor to the SBCC Philosophy Club for over ten years, and co-hosted the IDC Faculty Colloquium with Dr. Eskandari. In 1997, with Joe White and Sasha Jokic, Jim helped establish the Center for Philosophical Education, which has hosted international conferences, published conference proceedings with leading academic presses, and produced STOA, an international, undergraduate journal in philosophy. Jim has taught in two Study Abroad programs: Florence in 1997, and China/VietNam in 1999. He is a charter member of the SBCC Online College.
Jim has published essays, letters, book reviews, and poetry in various books and periodicals, including Commerce and Morality, Business Ethics & Common Sense, Liberty in the 21st Century, Reason Magazine, The Freeman, The Chronicle of Higher Education, Reason Papers, and Poet Lore. He has co-authored two books with Tibor Machan: The Business of Commerce, and A Primer on Business Ethics.
Jim has three daughters: Jill, Kim, Ashley, a son, Gabriel, and five grandchildren. Jim’s wife, Victoria, without whom he would never have managed a social life, remember birthdays, or match shirt with tie, is his closest friend and soul-mate. This summer they will celebrate their 39th wedding anniversary.