|Rev. Theodore M. Hesburgh, C.S.C.|
Hesburgh Library; the mural, "The Word of Life," depicts Christ the Teacher and is informally known as "Touchdown Jesus."
|15th President of the University of Notre Dame|
|Term||1952 – 1987|
|Predecessor||John J Cavanaugh|
|Born||May 25, 1917
Syracuse, New York, United States
|Alma mater||The Catholic University of America|
The Rev. Theodore Martin Hesburgh, CSC, STD (born May 25, 1917), a priest of the Congregation of Holy Cross, is President Emeritus of the University of Notre Dame. He is the namesake for TIAA-CREF's Hesburgh Award.
Hesburgh grew up in Syracuse and had wished to become a priest since early childhood. He studied at Notre Dame until his seminary sent him to Italy. He studied in Rome until he was forced to leave due to the outbreak of World War II. He graduated from The Catholic University of America in 1945, having earned a Doctorate in Sacred Theology. He became executive vice-president in 1949 and served in that position for 3 years.
He served as Notre Dame's President for 35 years (1952-87), the longest tenure so far. He supervised dramatic growth, as well as a transition to coeducation in 1972. During his term, the annual operating budget rose by a factor of 18 from $9.7 million to $176.6 million, and the endowment by a factor of 40 from $9 million to $350 million, and research funding by a factor of 20 from $735,000 to $15 million. Enrollment nearly doubled from 4,979 to 9,600, faculty more than doubled 389 to 950, and degrees awarded annually doubled from 1,212 to 2,500.
He holds the Guinness Book of World Records title for “Most Honorary Degrees”, having been awarded 150. He was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1964, the Congressional Gold Medal on December 9 1999 and the United States Military Academy's Sylvanus Thayer Award in 1980.
In 1967, he led an academic movement which issued the so-called Land O'Lakes statement which insisted upon "true autonomy and academic freedom in the face of authority of whatever kind, lay or clerical".
In 1982 he was awarded the F. Sadlier Dinger Award by educational publisher William H. Sadlier, Inc. in recognition of his outstanding contributions to the ministry of religious education in America. He was the first recipient of the NCAA Gerald R. Ford Award in 2004.
Hesburgh served as a member of the United States Civil Rights Commission from 1957, and Chairman from 1969, until his dismissal by President Richard Nixon in 1972 due to his frequent opposition to Nixon policies. He also served in a number of other posts on government commissions, non-profit organization boards, and Vatican missions, beginning with his appointment to a science commission by President Dwight Eisenhower in 1954.
President Jimmy Carter appointed him to a blue-ribbon immigration reform commission in 1979; the commission's finding — that any national immigration reform proposals can succeed only if the American national border is properly secured beforehand — has been cited by various opponents of illegal immigration to the United States, especially those that are Catholic or sympathetic to Catholic views.
He was one of the founders of People for the American Way. Hesburgh served on the Knight Commission that overhauled college sports from 1990 to 1996. Hesburgh was a major figure in US politics and the Catholic Church from the 1950s to the 1990s, and he is still influential today. He is an endorser of the Genocide Intervention Network and is a strong supporter of interfaith dialogue.
The University of Notre Dame's library opened on September 18, 1963 as the Memorial Library. It was named after Father Hesburgh in 1987. He has a private office on the thirteenth floor with the Olympic Torch from the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympic Games.
Father Hesburgh appeared in the 1993 film Rudy, in the role of a priest.
Father Theodore Hesburgh was awarded the honorary membership of the Austrian catholic fraternity KÖHV Alpenland in 1961.
John J Cavanaugh
President of the University of Notre
The Rev. Theodore Martin Hesburgh, CSC, STD (born May 25, 1917, at Syracuse, New York) is President Emeritus of the University of Notre Dame and served as its President for 35 years (1952-87), the longest tenure so far.