The Jack and Anita Hess Faculty Seminar is named in honor of two individuals who believed passionately in the power of education to counter prejudice.
Jackob Hess was no stranger to intolerance during his lifetime. In 1937 he narrowly escaped Hitler’s Germany by fleeing from Sprendlingen to the United States. Refusing to leave an infirm aunt, Jackob’s parents, Daniel and Regina, stayed in Germany, only to perish at the hands of the Nazis. Daniel died in Theresienstadt, and Regina died in Auschwitz.
Jackob Hess became an American citizen in 1944, changing his name to the more Americanized “Jack.” After serving in the Pacific in the United States Army, he married Anita Weiss. Living in rural Georgia, Jack and Anita and their two sons, Edward and David, often faced bias, prejudice, and hatred because of Jack’s nationality and the family’s religion.
Jack and Anita Hess were married for 48 years. Jack died in 1992 and Anita in 2002. Edward and David Hess established the Jack and Anita Hess Endowment Fund in their parents’ name in 2003 to perpetuate their legacy of education as a means of overcoming racial and religious prejudice.