The Jonathan Heskett Memorial Award


The purpose of this page is to celebrate Jon's life and his many achievements as well as to provide some background information about the award established in his memory, including details about how to apply for it.

Jon's Life

Jonathan S. Heskett was born in Reno, Nevada. At 18 months, as an indication of the prolific reader that he would become, Jon had already learned much of the alphabet. He attended grade school in La Jolla, California and in Illinois at Waukegan and Highland Park. After completing Junior High School in Wooster, Ohio, Jon graduated from Wooster High School in 1982. In January 1983 he enrolled at Bowling Green State University, Ohio, as a psychology major. He enjoyed himself at university, making several lifetime friends, competing on the fencing team and playing D-league baseball in the summer. He lost interest in studying psychology however and left school for several years to pursue other interests.

Jon did return to university though and was attracted to philosophy, particularly through the mentoring of Don Callen. In a short time, he completed his Bachelor of Arts degree, graduating with a major in philosophy in 1993. In January 1994, he entered the Graduate Program in Applied Philosophy at BGSU, with a primary interest in Environmental Ethics and, as a Teaching Assistant, taught classes in Logic and Aesthetics. After he took his own life on March 7, 1995, Jon was posthumously awarded a Master of Arts degree in Applied Philosophy, which was presented to his family.

Three passions focused and energized Jon's life: caring for family and friends; love for the joy of exploration and learning; and reverence for the wild. These virtues, so fondly recalled by those who knew Jon, are evident in the wide range of his accomplishments.

Jon was an expert chess player and from a very young age was able to outwit many adult opponents. Starting at six years old, Jon also developed into an accomplished archer by his early teens, winning summer camp competitions that eventually led to a distinguished "Camper of the Year" award at the Lake Forest Academy Summer Day Camp in Lake Forest, Illinois. He was also an outstanding athlete, setting all-league and all-star baseball pitching records at high school. While still in High School, he was the most accomplished student of classical guitar at the College of Wooster and played occasionally for recitals and at church. He loved the aesthetics of cooking, especially while entertaining friends and family, and used this talent as a chef at several restaurants, including a stint as a saucier in a French restaurant. For six years he was a line supervisor at UPS, where he was often recognized and rewarded for his creative work and outstanding leadership. With a little help from his friends and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, he restored and remodeled an older home on Buttonwood Avenue in Bowling Green. An enthusiastic student of the art of fishing, he reveled in the adventure and aesthetics of the sport ("It's all in the presentation") and consistently demonstrated supreme patience and mastery in teaching ready neophytes.

Jon had the ability to reach his potential and change the world in a very meaningful way. From student and peer accounts, he was beginning to do so by making philosophy accessible and interesting through his teaching style when, on March 7, 1995, he made the decision to end his own life.

The Award

The amount of the award, approximately $500, varies in accordance with the funds available. The award is to be used for the purchase of books.

The purpose of the award is to ensure that Jon's name lives on in perpetuity by being associated with helping others to be successful in Environmental Philosophy; an area of study that was his passion. The Award and the Fund from which it is provided is a tribute to Jon and his love of academia.

  1. To be considered for the award, applicants must be full-time undergraduate or graduate students enrolled in philosophy in the College of Arts and Sciences.
  2. Preference will be given to students pursuing a degree in environmental policy with a focus in environmental ethics or philosophy.
  3. Recipients may earn this award only once (except in cases of extreme financial need as deemed appropriate by the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences).
  4. In addition to the above and to BGSU-mandated forms, applicants must submit a one-page, 8.5 x 11 inch, double-spaced, one-inch margin paper that describes his or her perspective on the meaning of life.
    (For inspiration, the applicant might try one of the following: spending quality time with nature; fishing; volunteering in a children's hospital ward or senior center; watching the Monty Python movie The Meaning of Life; eating at Taco Bell at 1:00 a.m. on a Friday night in Bowling Green; playing golf with no skill; going to a tractor pull.)
  5. Recipients of the award will be selected by the Department of Philosophy.

Recipients of the Award

Normally, there is one award made per year at the end of the Spring semester, however, in 2001/2002, two awards were made in order to catch up from the previous year.

2001: undergraduate philosophy major Alexander Frondorf and graduate student Aaron Simmons.

2002: graduate student Anton Tupa.

2006: graduate student Jeanne Kusina

2007: graduate student  Peter Kirwan

2008: undergraduate major Jennifer Coon. A special commendation was given to graduate student  Fred Olwendo.

2009: undergraduate student Chad Walker

2010: undergraduate geography and history major Emily West 

2011: undergraduate philosophy major Courtney Steinman

2012: undergraduate student Nicole Richter

2013: undergraduate student Anastasia Norris

2014: philosophy graduate student Marcus Schultz-Bergin

2015 philosophy graduate student Tatiana Gracyk

2016 undergraduate student Aaron Strasbaugh

2017 undergraduate student Kevin Wolschlager

2018 philosophy graduate student Sara Ghaffari

2019 undergraduate student Stephanie Ross

2020 undergraduate student Grace Hartman

2021 philosophy graduate student Julia Ringma

2022 undergraduate student Robert McDermott

Jonathan Heskett Pages:

Dedicated to Jonathan Heskett (1964-1995)

Jon in His Own Words

Some Memories of Jon as He Lived

Understanding and Preventing Suicide

Updated: 04/26/2022 06:00PM