Junior Zachary Schenone, a construction management major, passed away May 31. He was 21.

Born April 7, 1999, Schenone grew up in Sonoma County and attended Cardinal Newman High School, where he was an accomplished lacrosse player. After graduation, he enrolled at Chico State, and invested his passion for life and insatiable work ethic into his studies and extracurricular activities, with hopes of inspiring others to succeed in all facets of life. He was involved in several campus clubs and a member of Sigma Chi.

His faculty remember him as a friendly and enthusiastic student who was always eager to jump into lab activities and discussions. As a student competitor on the Associated Schools of Construction (ASC) team, Schenone impressed everyone with his work ethic and drive. In addition to weekly meetings and exhaustive practice problems and presentations, he went above and beyond by coordinating meetings with a local architect to better learn the software and responsibilities as team architect, said team advisor and construction management professor Patrick Brittle.

“I’ll always remember Zach for one particular moment. … The team had just finished competing in the ASC Competition, which consisted of working together in a cramped hotel room on a construction problem for 16 hours straight, then compiling and extensively practicing for a presentation to a panel of experts the next morning,” Brittle said. “The competition had just ended and the team understandably looked exhausted, except for Zach. Zach had a smile on his face, and when we made eye contact he said, ‘I can’t wait to do this again next year!’ I remember laughing at this statement as it caught me completely off-guard, but I was also thoroughly impressed with his willingness to continue to challenge and push himself.”  

Zachary Schenone smiles for a picture while standing in the snow.
Zach Schenone dreamed of a career where he could improve other people’s lives with his expertise in construction management. (Courtesy photo)

Philosophy faculty Susan Dobra remembers Schenone’s aptitude and dedication in her “Moral Issues in Parenting” course this spring, but it was their out-of-class conversations that left the greatest impression. After discovering a shared interest in green building techniques as a way of confronting climate change, they began discussing a potential project with some of his fellow construction management majors to support such rebuilding in Paradise.

“I so appreciated Zach’s enthusiasm and sincerity and his willingness to take on the project of getting his fellow students excited about building with a lower carbon footprint,” she said. “He was genuine in his interest in exploring new ways of doing things, and I looked forward to exploring them with him.”

Friends and fraternity brothers say he was a treasured member of their circles. He loved being outdoors, spending time on his boat on Lake Shasta, and lending help to those in need.

“Zach was infectious. He was the center of so many relationships and everyone who knew him considered him a genuine friend,” said fraternity brother Caden Ramirez. “Zach accepted an internship in Redding for the summer and was so excited to share his skills with everyone.”

Schenone is survived by his parents, Michelle and DJ Schenone, and brother Nick Schenone.

A celebration of life will be held Friday, June 12, at 4 p.m. at Oak Way Park in Chico. His fraternity brothers have organized a GoFundMe to support the family with funeral expenses and set up a scholarship in Schenone’s name.

The University flag will be lowered Wednesday, June 10, in his memory.