Jacob Hiatt, local philanthropist, longtime Trustee and friend of the College,
died Feb. 25, at his home in Worcester, at 95.
At the funeral services held on Feb. 26 at Temple Emmanuel in Worcester, President
Emeritus John E. Brooks, S.J., paid tribute to his friend, "There is scarcely
a citizen of the city of Worcester today who, in one way or another, has not
been the beneficiary of Jack's compassion, generosity and thoughtfulness. His
benefactions on so many fronts are indeed a legacy that will live on, and forever
evoke our gratitude and perpetuate his name
in our community."
During his lifetime, Mr. Hiatt provided generous support
to local educational, religious and cultural institutions. A strong supporter
of education, he donated
millions of dollars to assist area schools and colleges, including
In 1979, Mr. Hiatt and his wife, Frances, established two wings of the Dinand
Library at Holy Cross. Named after Mr. Hiatt's parents, the addition honors the
memory of all victims of the Holocaust; a collection of literature related to
the Holocaust is housed in one of the wings.
To encourage greater understanding between Christians
and Jews, Mr. Hiatt and his daughter and son-in-law, Myra and Robert Kraft, owner
of the New England
Patriots, made a major gift to Holy Cross and Brandeis University in Waltham
to endow two professorships in comparative religion: the Kraft-Hiatt Chair in
Judaic Studies at Holy Cross and the Kraft-Hiatt Chair in Christian Studies at
Brandeis University. Alan Avery-Peck, professor and acting chair of the religious
studies department, has served as the Kraft-Hiatt Professor in Judaic Studies
at Holy Cross since 1993.
Other contributions to education include the establishment of the Frances L.
Hiatt Scholars Program-named in honor of his late wife, the program has provided
merit scholarships for college to outstanding high school seniors in the Worcester
area; the Frances L. Hiatt Career Development Program at Brandeis; the Jacob
and Frances Chair of European History at Clark University; and the Jacob and
Frances Hiatt Institute in Jerusalem, a program that enables students from American
colleges and universities
to spend up to one year studying Israel's political, social and historical institutions.
In 1991, he gave $7.5 million to Clark University to establish the Jacob Hiatt
Center for Urban Education, a partnership with the Worcester
Active in many cultural, educational and civic endeavors, Mr. Hiatt had been
a member of the Holy Cross Board of Trustees for more than 20 years and a member
of the President's Council at Holy Cross. He had also served as a trustee of
Assumption College, Brandeis University in Waltham, Mass., Boston University,
the former Leicester Junior College, now merged with Becker College, and as a
life trustee of Clark University. Mr. Hiatt was a founder and patron of Brandeis
His contribution to the local community included the
donation of $1 million toward building the Frances L. Hiatt Wing at the Worcester
Art Museum, which opened
in 1983. In addition to serving as an honorary trustee of the Worcester Art Museum
and the Worcester Foundation for Experimental Biology in Shrewsbury, he was a
member of the Council of the American Antiquarian Society, a trustee of the former
City Hospital and director of the Worcester
chapter of the American Red Cross.
A leader in the Jewish community, Mr. Hiatt was an honorary
life member of the board of trustees of Temple Emmanuel, chairman of the management
the Jewish Home for the Aged in Worcester, and a member, board director and past
president of the Worcester Jewish Federation. He made a $1 million donation to
the expansion project of the Frances and Jacob Hiatt Jewish Community Center,
completed in 1996.
During his career, he received numerous honors, including
the Education Award from the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education
and the 1978 Brotherhood
Award from the Worcester chapter of the National Council of Christians and Jews.
In 1985, the Worcester Area Advertising Club presented him with the 25th Isaiah
Thomas Award, for distinguished community service; Fr. Brooks delivered the address
at the dinner honoring Mr. Hiatt. The Telegram & Gazette selected
him as the recipient of its Citizen of the Year Award in 1992
as part of the newspaper's Visions 2000 awards program, and, in 1995, the University of Massachusetts
Medical Center Foundation honored him with its first annual Joseph T. Benedict
Award for Outstanding Community
Born in Lithuania, Mr. Hiatt served as circuit judge
of the Court of Lithuania before coming to the United States in 1935. His parents
and three other members
of the family, who remained in Lithuania, died during the Holocaust.
Mr. Hiatt began working at the E.F. Dodge Paper Box
Corp. in Leominster, Mass., becoming president and treasurer in 1939. When the
company merged with 12 other
box and printing companies to become the Rand-Whitney Corp., he remained president
and chairman of the board. He had also been president of the Jacob Hiatt Income
Trust and Estey Investment Inc.
Mr. Hiatt earned a bachelor's degree in law from the University of Lithuania
and, in 1946, a master's degree in history and international relations from Clark
University. He received an honorary doctor of humane letters from Holy Cross
Mr. Hiatt is survived by two daughters; a sister; four
grandsons; and six great-grandchildren.
His wife, Frances, died in 1980.