Hess Family Dining Hall dedication honors decade of support

At a ceremony on the morning of May 18, King’s Academy dedicated the school’s main Dining Hall to the Hess Family, in recognition of John, Susan and Michael Hess’ longstanding support, philanthropy and friendship to King’s Academy.

The family is one of the founding donors of King’s Academy, has been a staunch supporter of His Majesty King Abdullah II’s vision for the school since its conception, and has continued to be one of the school’s major philanthropists in the decade since. Michael Hess, a New York-based investment professional and son of John and Susan, currently serves as a member of the Board of Trustees. 

Speaking on behalf of his family, John Hess said how happy they were to be present at such a meaningful time, as the school marks its 10th anniversary this year. 

“His Majesty’s vision made this school possible for so many students from Jordan, the region and from all over the world. It’s a remarkable feeling and our family is honored to be, in a small way, his partner in this endeavor.” 

Also speaking at the ceremony, Chairman of the Board of Trustees HE Bassem Al-Salem expressed his appreciation to the Hess family: “In the Dining Hall, our student body comes together every day enjoying the diversity of their peers. This diversity is not possible without support such as yours that allows the Academy to become home for students regardless of their socioeconomic background.”

“As we look back over the last decade, your family’s name figures prominently in the Academy’s history, having helped us time and again to become such an important educational landmark in the Middle East,” Al-Salem continued. “With your support, you propel King’s Academy forward in ways that touch the lives of our students for so many years to come. We are delighted to name the busiest building on our campus in your honor.”

In his remarks, Headmaster John Austin explained how the Hess Family Dining Hall embodies the spirit and ethos of the school.

“King’s is a school for everyone. It is a school where students meet as equals regardless of their background, nationality or faith – one reason we sit at round tables. It is a school that stands for service to others – symbolized by the ritual of waiting on one’s fellow students. It is a school that values the important work of forging from the world’s great diversity a community of care.”

King’s student orchestra entertained guests with instrumental renditions of movie music from The Incredibles and The Pink Panther, under direction from music teachers Reem Abu Rahmeh and Nadine Cunningham. John, Susan and Michael Hess then unveiled the name of the Hess Family Dining Hall mounted over the main entrance to the building.  

“There’s something magical about King’s,” said Hess. “It’s not just the ‘what’ of education, it’s the ‘how’. They aren’t just learning skills, they’re also learning values, and the greatest value is this idea of serving others. When I see all of you [students], I know the world has a bright future.”

“We’re very honored to be a part of the King’s Academy family,” he added.