Ex-Notre Dame President Hesburgh Dies

The Rev. Theodore Hesburgh, a civil-rights luminary known for his activism and transforming the University of Notre Dame into an academic powerhouse, died Thursday. He was 97. The revered priest died on campus in South Bend, Indiana, said university spokesman Paul Browne. The cause of death was not immediately known. Hesburgh rose to fame while serving as president of Notre Dame from 1952 to 1987, when he oversaw changes including admitting women and reshaping a small Catholic college into a prestigious university. He became one of the founding members of the U.S. Civil Rights Commission in 1957 and famously joined hands with Martin Luther King Jr. at a 1964 Chicago civil-rights rally. He received the Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor, from President Lyndon Johnson in 1964 and served on President Gerald Ford’s Presidential Clemency Board. He also received the Congressional Gold Medal in 2000 from President Bill Clinton, who called him “a servant and a child of God, a genuine American patriot and a citizen of the world.”