“The happiest day of my life was when I was anointed a Catholic priest.” —Father Hesburgh, in The Hesburgh Papers*.
  • 1917—Born in Syracuse, N.Y.
  • 1934–37—Attended the University of Notre Dame.
  • 1937—Sent to Rome to study theology at the Gregorian University.
  • 1939—Graduated and received a bachelor of philosophy degree from the Gregorian University.
  • 1943—Ordained to the Holy Cross priesthood, Sacred Heart Church at Notre Dame.
  • 1945—Graduated with a doctor of sacred theology degree from Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.
  • 1945–47—Served as chaplain to WWII veterans at the University of Notre Dame.
  • 1945–48—Served as an instructor and assistant professor in the Department of Religion at the University of Notre Dame.
  • 1948–49—Served as chairman of the Department of Religion at the University of Notre Dame.
  • 1949–52—Served as executive vice president of the University of Notre Dame.
  • 1952—Named 15th President of the University of Notre Dame.
  • 1956–70—Served as permanent Vatican City representative to the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna, Austria.
  • 1957–72—Served as a member and, for the final three years, chairman of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.
  • 1963–70—Served as chairman of the International Federation of Catholic Universities.
  • 1964—Awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Lyndon Johnson. 
  • 1968—Appointed head of the Vatican representatives attending the 20th anniversary of the United Nations' human rights declaration in Tehran, Iran, by Pope Paul VI.
  • 1970—Awarded the Meiklejohn Award of the American Association of University Professors.
  • 1971–82—Served as chair of the Overseas Development Council. 
  • 1972—Built the Ecumenical Institute in Tantur, Jerusalem, at the request of Pope Paul VI.
  • 1974—Appointed a member of the Holy See's United Nations delegation by Pope Paul VI.
  • 1974—Named to Presidential Clemency Board.
  • 1974—Published The Humane Imperative: A Challenge for the Year 2000.
  • 1979—Appointed as ambassador to the United Nations Conference on Science and Technology for Development.
  • 1979—Published The Hesburgh Papers: Higher Values in Higher Education.
  • 1979–81—Served as chair of the Select Commission on Immigration and Refugee Policy.
  • 1983—Appointed to the Pontifical Council for Culture by Pope John Paul II.
  • 1985—Created the Institute for International Peace Studies.
  • 1987—Stepped down as President of the University of Notre Dame after 35 years of service.
  • 1990—Published his autobiography, God, Country, Notre Dame, which went on to become a national bestseller.
  • 1990–96—Served as co-chair of the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics.
  • 1992—Published Travels with Ted and Ned.
  • 1994-95—Served as President of the Board of Overseers at Harvard University.
  • 1999—Made a fact-finding tour of refugee camps around Kosovo for the United Nations.
  • 1999—Awarded Congressional Gold Medal.
  • 2002—Received his 150th honorary degree, from the University of San Diego.
  • 2004—Became the first recipient of the NCAA's Gerald R. Ford Award for leadership in intercollegiate athletics.
  • 2006—Received the Sachem Award, Indiana's highest honor, in recognition of a lifetime of excellence and moral virtue that has brought credit and honor to the state.
  • 2007—Celebrated his 90th birthday, including a gala at the Smithsonian Institution, where a famed photo of him and Martin Luther King Jr. standing in solidarity was included in the permanent collection of the institution's National Portrait Gallery.
  • 2010—One of 100 recipients of a Centennial Medal from Catholic Charities USA for his work on behalf of the poor.

Please see the following resources for more information.

Ames, Charlotte, and Thomas Stritch. "Chronological Table." Theodore M. Hesburgh: a Bio-bibliography. New York: Greenwood, 1989. Print. *Hesburgh, Theodore M. The Hesburgh Papers: Higher Values in Higher Education.  Kansas City: Andrews and McMeel, 1979.  Print. 

Selected Photos