Farewell To One Remarkable Pembrokian: Jim Hester 1924-2014

January 7th, 20152:50 pm @


A Note From Tom Herman

Dear North American Pembrokians:

 It is with great sadness that I must report the death of the Pembroke College Foundation’s founding chairman, Jim Hester.  Jim died last Wednesday at his home in Princeton at the age of 90. In addition to his extraordinary professional accomplishments and many civic contributions (see below obituary for more), Jim was a very generous and loyal son of Pembroke, to which he came as a Rhodes Scholar in 1946. In the mid-1980’s, when then-Master Sir Roger Bannister asked a number of American Alumni to help support the College, Jim was among the first to step up to the plate. To evaluate what American “Old Members” (that is how we were commonly referred to then) thought of Pembroke, Jim cut a check for $10,000 to fund a survey – which found that a substantial majority of American Pembrokians felt a greater loyalty to Pembroke than to their American undergraduate universities (this survey was done before the creation of the visiting student program). This finding came as a huge surprise to the professional educational development firm hired to do the survey – the conventional wisdom at the time was that loyalty was first to the American undergraduate university, which is still generally the case.

Jim Hester – 1924-2014

Jim Hester – 1924-2014

Jim has been a steady guide and great friend to me during my years as the Foundation’s president, and to Peter Grose, who preceded me as president, always generous with his wise advice, always friendly, always quick to get to the point. For many years, Jim was an active participant in Foundation activities, frequently the host. It was always a delight to see him and Janet. He shall be deeply missed. I will be sending his wonderful wife, Janet, and the Hester family a note on behalf of the Foundation.  I, for one, was deeply honored (and humbled) to call him my friend.

Here is the death notice that appeared on January 3 in The New York Times.

 Best regards,