One of the first questions people ask me when they meet me for the first time is why are they calling me “Pete” when my business card says “N. Warren Hess, III”. Some people even insist to speak with my brother, Warren, at my law office and they don’t believe that we are the same person. This is the real story of my name.
I was born Newman Warren Hess, III on November 18, 1948. At the time, my grandfather, a Protestant minister from New York was using his given name, Newman Hess. My father, a chemist at Uniroyal, was commonly known as Warren Hess, but was called Pete or Uncle Pete by his close friends and family. My grandfather and father wanted to name me Newman Warren Hess, III, but my mother wanted to name me Peter. A compromise was reached and I was named Newman Warren Hess, III, but called “Pete”. I never realized that my actual name was not Pete until kindergarten at Hop Brook School when the class role was read and I didn’t respond to the name Newman. All of my friends called me Pete throughout high school at Naugatuck High School and college at Boston University.
In 1970, after graduating from Boston University, I moved to San Francisco to commence law school at the University of San Francisco. While in law school, I decided to use the name Warren Hess, because it sounded to me like a better name for a lawyer than “Pete”. Upon graduation from the University of San Francisco in 1973, I thought that N. Warren Hess, III, my real name, sounded more lawyerly and I also felt that it would be a tribute to my deceased father. Thereafter, my entire legal career has been conducted under the name of N. Warren Hess, III, but my friends and most people from Naugatuck continue to call me “Pete”. Some of my closest friends also call me Newman because they think that I don’t like the name. The truth is that I am comfortable in my own skin under all variations of my name, but I am most comfortable running for Mayor as “Pete Hess”.