The Jessen Family (2013)

For 49 years, Howard and Susie, during her life, built lasting and meaningful relationships with countless people in the North Shore community. They, along with their family — Art '70 and Diane '70, Ned '73 and Lynn '74, Gwen '76, Chris '00 and Brian '02 — have been a wonderfully consistent presence — there for others, always connected, always there for the School.
Those who know them value their friendship and have been enriched by the “Jessen connection.” The Jessens are multi-faceted and their impact on North Shore multi-dimensional. Thoughtful, invested, responsive, engaged, positive, enthusiastic, interesting and interested, wise, aware, genuine, caring, positive and fun. As a family they live their lives with values that align with North Shore’s values. They are present, they are engaged, they “live and serve.”
Involved in North Shore Country Day in so many ways—as students, parents, grandparents, Board of Trustee members, Woman’s/Benefit Board members, Foundation Trustee members, Alumni Board members, Parents’ Association leaders and volunteers, Science Olympiad Coaches, School employees, audience members, sports fans and photographers—each has made their mark, and continue to make an impact on North Shore students and teachers today.

Howard Jessen inspires—as a person, a life-long learner, a coach, a mentor and a friend. He is a bridge builder and no one has built more bridges at North Shore. Bridges connect, bring together, help steer one’s destination. Howard has built these bridges with students, alumni, teachers, coaches, administrators, parents and grandparents. His example influences us all.

Susie was very connected and engaged throughout her life. She had the ability to listen, advise, encourage and clarify. In talking with Susie, one knew how much she cared and understood. She committed herself to environmental and sustainability issues and offered steady guidance in these areas to the School. Susie was a leader as parent volunteer and active Benefit Board (formerly Woman’s Board) member. Together, Howard and Susie and their partnership, have been a model for us all.

Art goes the extra mile . . . always. No one’s laugh is louder, no one’s enthusiasm greater. He has been committed as a parent, son and sibling, as Trustee and alumnus; always with energy, humor, perspective and love of the School, and the long hours he dedicates as a masterful photographer and webmaster. His undeniable Raider spirit is evidenced by the subtlety of his purple Jeep. Diane, alumna and parent, was a consummate volunteer and organizer. Her leadership of the Benefit Board in the late ’90s and early 2000s helped take the Benefit Board to a new level. In addition, she helped form the Athletic Council, and welcomed all parents to give and volunteer setting a course that is still in place today.

Gwen’s interest in the School has been constant as has her connection with her classmates and fellow alumni. As a development professional, her insight has been greatly valued and her ability to remain connected is appreciated. Ned, married to an alum, Lynn, knows and understands schools, including North Shore, and contributes broadly to them. No father/uncle managed the North Shore/LFA rivalry more skillfully. For Lynn and Ned to be thoughtful and contributing LFA parents while proudly wearing Purple and White is an example for us all. The next generation, with Chris and Brian, and soon to follow their children (we can only hope!) walk in their footsteps, already contributing through Alumni Board involvement and alumni events.

North Shore’s community and family are made up of strong individuals and with the example set by the Jessens, we are a stronger more vibrant community. Together we celebrate their contributions to our School and our community.

Presented to The Jessen Family by Head of School Tom Doar III
October 24, 2013
North Shore Country Day School is a junior kindergarten through 12th grade, college-preparatory school founded in Winnetka, Illinois in 1919.  With rigorous academic pursuit as the cornerstone, North Shore provides many opportunities for all students to excel – in the classroom and the laboratory, on the stage and the playing field, in their communities and beyond.