A major new biography of the well-loved and controversial priest and president of Notre Dame University who served as an adviser to Presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy, Nixon, Carter, Reagan, and Clinton.
Rev. Theodore M. Hesburgh, C.S.C. (May 25, 1917-February 26, 2015) served a record term of 35 years (1952-1987) as president of the University of Notre Dame. Considered for many decades to be the most influential priest in America, Hesburgh played important roles in higher education, the Catholic Church, and national and international affairs. American Priest
examines his life and his many and varied engagements at the university he led and in places far beyond it. It also evaluates the extent and importance of his legacy.
This biography of Fr. Hesburgh tracks his life and work at Notre Dame and sheds light on significant developments in the United States in the postwar era. Hesburgh was a key participant in the transformation of Catholic higher education in the United States after World War II and an important and much-celebrated voice in American higher education more generally. His more than 150 honorary degrees suggest the extent of his reputation. He also contributed in significant ways to broader American developments, including those on such momentous issues as civil rights, immigration, and refugee policy, through his service as an adviser to every president from Dwight Eisenhower to Bill Clinton. Furthermore, understanding Hesburgh's life and work allows for a deeper appreciation of the journey that the Catholic Church traveled over the second half of the 20th century.
Exploring and evaluating Hesburgh's importance then, contributes not only to the colorful history of Notre Dame but also to the American Catholic experience.