It's March 4, and later today Rev. Theodore M. Hesburgh, C.S.C., President Emeritus of the University of Notre Dame and one of the top educators of the 20th century, will be laid to rest. He died last week at age 97, and to say that he lived a full life is an understatement. We talked about some of his accomplishments and achievements, including serving as an advisor to popes and presidents, visiting more than 100 countries, and earning 150 honorary degrees, in a previous blog entry, but today is a good occasion to reflect on a couple things he did that changed countless lives. Fr. Hesburgh was a leader in civil rights and equal rights. There's a famous photo of him and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. joining hands at a march more than 50 years ago when such an alliance would've been frowned upon by many. Fr. Hesburgh also believed that half the population shouldn't be denied the opportunity to study at Notre Dame, and so he led a movement to allow women into Notre Dame, thereby leading its transformation from an all-male school known primarily for football into the co-educational, internationally relevant place of higher learning that it is today. Finally, it was common knowledge on campus during Fr. Hesburgh's presidency and even after he retired that if the lights were on in his office, students and other guests were welcome to visit, perhaps to receive counseling, perhaps to have questions answered, or perhaps just to chat.
Like Fr. Hesburgh, those of us at American School believe that no student should be denied a quality education based on gender, ethnicity or religious affiliation. We also "leave our lights on" for our students and invite them to contact us anytime of the day or night if they have something to tell us. Like Fr. Hesburgh, we'll be here to listen and to hopefully make your lives better.