Father Theodore Hesburgh
Oct 02, 2019 12:00 PM
Patrick Creadon
Father Theodore Hesburgh

Patrick Creadon, the director of Hesburgh, has a deep history at Notre Dame. His documentary film Hesburgh, tells the story of larger-than-life Father Theodore “Ted” Hesburgh, who was president of the University of Notre Dame for 35 years, from 1952 to 1987.  It’s strange that, outside of the admittedly large Notre Dame community, Hesburgh’s association with major issues of our time has faded from view. 

During his tenure at Notre Dame, Hesburgh was also involved with the U.S. Civil Rights Commission, the National Science Board and an immigration-reform commission, among many other national and international groups, under presidents from Lyndon Johnson to Jimmy Carter and beyond. He was also close friends with Pope Paul VI.

Hesburgh rubbed shoulders with such luminaries as the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., and a variety of world leaders. He died in 2015 at the age of 97, having influenced many generations of politicians, activists and students. Among those attending and/or speaking at his funeral were President Carter, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, legendary Notre Dame football coach Lou Holtz, and a variety of U.S. elected officials, including former Senator Alan K. Simpson, who appears in the documentary (as does the current Speaker of the House, Rep. Nancy Pelosi).