About Theodore Martin Hesburgh
The Reverend Theodore Martin Hesburgh was born in Syracuse, NY in 1917. He began his university education at the University of Notre Dame in 1934, but left after three years of study there. He completed a bachelor of philosophy degree at the Gregorian University (Rome, Italy) in 1939. After earning a doctorate from the Catholic University of America in 1945, Rev. Hesburgh returned to Notre Dame to begin his teaching career.
Rev. Hesburgh became president of the University of Notre Dame in 1952 at the age of 35, retiring in 1987. The longest serving president in the history of the University of Notre Dame, he oversaw the transition to coeducation, the growth in institutional operating budgets and endowments and a doubling of enrollment and degree attainment during his tenure.
Hesburgh served on the United States Civil Rights Commission and the Knight Commission on college athletics and founded People for the American Way. He held 16 presidential appointments, beginning with his appointment by President Eisenhower to the National Science Board in 1954. He is the recipient of over 150 honorary degrees, the Presidential Medal of Freedom (1964), and the Congressional Gold Medal (1999).