Rev. Theodore M. Hesburgh, C.S.C., president of the University of Notre Dame from 1952 to 1987, a priest of the Congregation of Holy Cross, and one of the nation’s most influential figures in higher education, the Catholic Church, and national and international affairs, died at 11:30 p.m. Thursday (Feb. 26) at Holy Cross House adjacent to the University. He was 97.
“We mourn today a great man and faithful priest who transformed the University of Notre Dame and touched the lives of many,” said Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., Notre Dame’s president. “With his leadership, charisma and vision, he turned a relatively small Catholic college known for football into one of the nation’s great institutions for higher learning.
“In his historic service to the nation, the Church and the world, he was a steadfast champion for human rights, the cause of peace and care for the poor.
“Perhaps his greatest influence, though, was on the lives of generations of Notre Dame students, whom he taught, counseled and befriended.
“Although saddened by his loss, I cherish the memory of a mentor, friend and brother in Holy Cross and am consoled that he is now at peace with the God he served so well.”