The Notre Dame President
During his 35 years as President, Father Hesburgh’s Notre Dame doubled its enrollment, added 40 buildings, grew its endowment from $9 million to $350 million, increased student aid from $20,000 to $40 million, and upped the average faculty salary from $5,400 to $50,800.
Led by Father Hesburgh, Notre Dame reached the front rank of American higher education, significantly advanced its research and scholarly initiatives, and transformed it into the world’s preeminent Catholic university. He turned its governance over to a two-tiered, mixed board of lay and religious trustees and fellows in 1967, steered the institution through the turbulent 1960s, and opened its doors to women in 1972.
And his welcoming conversations with students who ventured unannounced into his Main Building office in the middle of the night became the stuff of legend.