A Leader in Higher Education

Under the leadership of Father Hesburgh, Notre Dame was transformed into the world's preeminent Catholic university, and this, along with his contributions to American higher education, led Time magazine to feature him on its cover in 1962. But he was only then beginning to make his mark.

He would chair the International Federation of Catholic Universities, which redefined the nature of the contemporary Catholic university. He would attract national attention for his firm leadership during the social upheaval of the 1960s and for his vocal stance against sending federal troops onto college campuses.

He was the first priest elected to Harvard’s governing board, the author of several books on the purposes and value of higher education, and would later co-chair the reform-seeking Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics. His 150 honorary degrees (more than any other person in history) stand as testimony to his influence and stature in academia the world over.