Remembering a Friend
By Todd Solan

Courtesy of Todd Solan

Todd Solan, right, and Jason Jacobs at Toddís wedding in 1998.

      I thought writing about my dear friend Jason Jacobs í90, who died in the World Trade Center attack, would be a simple task. After all, during the past months, Iíve thought of little else than Jason and his family. Iíve looked back at the great times we shared in college and at the fun we had later in our lives. And yet, piecing together words after this unconscionable and numbing event seems almost impossible. This is because all I really know is that Jason Jacobsóa wonderful husband, father, and friend who accomplished so much and touched so manyóis no longer with us. I donít know why heís not here; I still canít believe heís not here, and it makes no sense to me that heís not here. And yet I must accept that this remarkable individual is gone.
      My fondest memory of Jason at SU involves our time spent together in the Broadcast Journalism Program. Iím not exactly sure when we first met, but my earliest memory comes from Dona Hayesís Broadcast Newswriting class back in 1987 or í88. Jasonís passion was not broadcast journalism, but rather politics and the study of political science. He would often lead the class through complex legal and moral discussions, bringing a whole new slant to broadcast writing. Jasonís political interests werenít just shared in the classroom. During his college years, he worked with a political science professor, conducting exit polls on election night. At the time, Jason wanted to become an attorney. He ended up an extremely successful businessman, recently becoming a vice president in the information technology department of a major investment company. I always joked with Jason that our former classmates would never believe that he hadnít become an attorney. Nonetheless, I knew everyone would be proud of the direction he pursued and admiring of his success.

      After college, our careers separated us physically, but Jason and I stayed in close touch. This is when I discovered that Jason had another passion: Jennifer, a woman he met years earlier while she was visiting her brother at SU. When Jason talked about Jennifer I could tell by the excitement in his voice that this was the girl he would marry. Jennifer and Jason did marry close to five years ago, and I know that their love grew each and every day since. That might sound like a clichť, but itís true.
      Without a doubt, the greatest event in Jasonís life was the birth of his daughter, Zoe. He was thrilled throughout Jenniferís pregnancy, sending me e-mail after e-mail describing his life as an expectant dad. Once the baby came, Jasonís usual upbeat personality became even more cheerful. He loved spending time with Zoe, reading to her and playing with her. He also had made a baby room for her in the home he recently bought and was fixing up. While I wasnít there to spend time with Jason and his daughter, his love of his baby was so large that he would write me what seemed to be a weekly two-page recap of everything they shared. Nothing in life made him prouder, and Zoe was extremely lucky to have such a devoted father, even if for only a brief time.
      When I think of Jason and our years together, I think of a passionate, caring individual who made everyone who knew him proud. He was scholarly, courteous, successful, and, most importantly, a great friend, husband, and father. Living on the West Coast, I hadnít seen Jason often over the past few years, scoring only occasional visits on business trips. And it hurts me, because he was such a great person. I only wish my son had known this man; if he grows up with half of Jasonís warmth, compassion, intelligence, and integrity, he will become a hugely successful person.
      I will always think of Jasonís smile, his laugh, and my visits with his family. It is not nearly enough, but it will have to do. Jason, I hope you are at peace. Everyone here misses you and loves you very much. The world will not be the same without you, and not a day will go by that I donít think of you. The Syracuse University community has lost a great friend and a true heroóbecause he exuded everything that is right in this world.

 

Todd Solan, a 1990 graduate of the College of Arts and Sciences and the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, is contests and incentives specialist for Nissan North America in Gardena, California. He lives in Placentia, California, and can be reached at todd.solan@nissan-usa.com.


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