Senate and House introduce resolution honoring Father Hesburgh

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Senator Joe Donnelly, Senator Dan Coats, Representative Mike Kelly and Representative Jackie Walorski introduced concurrent resolutions in the house and senate honoring the life of Rev. Theodore Hesburgh, C.S.C.

Donnelly said, “As a proud son of Notre Dame, I welcome the opportunity to honor Father Ted's incredible life.  Father Ted worked with presidents, Popes, and Martin Luther King, Jr. on issues of nuclear nonproliferation, immigration reform, and civil rights.  Yet it is his impact on the South Bend community, Notre Dame campus, and on those who attended Our Lady's University that I remember and celebrate.  He wanted every single student, staff, and faculty member to know they were loved, cared about, and special.  He taught us to live ‘God, Country, Notre Dame.' May he rest in peace.”

Coats said, “Father Hesburgh enriched innumerable lives with his visionary leadership and faithful service. He was a powerful voice on numerous important issues, including civil rights, higher education and faith. It was a pleasure to know and learn from Father Hesburgh.”

Kelly said, “Father Hesburgh lived an extraordinary life—one marked by devotion to God, dedication to country, and steadfast support for the community he loved so dearly. As president of the University of Notre Dame from 1952 to 1987, he transformed Catholic higher education in America and was a powerful moral voice in national affairs and the world.  Over the course of his life, he faithfully served under four Popes and nine presidential administrations and received 150 honorary degrees, the most ever awarded to a single individual. Through it all, Fr. Hesburgh was a dedicated public servant grounded by deep faith, love for the poor, and a fundamental belief in the human rights of all people. This resolution will honor the life and memory of Fr. Hesburgh, and the great things he achieved for so many.”

Walorski said, "Father Hesburgh's life epitomized what it means to serve this country.  I hope every American takes a moment to learn his story and honor a truly inspiring man. He will be remembered for his convictions and revered for his contributions to higher education and to our entire country.”

Text of the resolutions:

Whereas Reverend Theodore M. Hesburgh, C.S.C., was born on May 25, 1917 in Syracuse, New York; ordained a priest of the Congregation of Holy Cross on June 24, 1943 in South Bend, IN; and served as president of the University of Notre Dame from 1952 to 1987;

Whereas, during his tenure, the University of Notre Dame welcomed women for the first time and embraced the spirit of open intellectual inquiry and moral engagement that defines it today;

Whereas Father Hesburgh held a variety of appointed positions under four popes and nine presidential administrations;

Whereas, throughout decades of public service, Father Hesburgh proudly championed the civil rights of African Americans, our duty to the poor, and the fundamental human dignity of all persons;

Whereas, in pursuit of those ideals, Father Hesburgh held a variety of influential public roles, including terms as a founding member and chairman of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, chair of the Overseas Development Council, chair of the Select Commission on Immigration and Refugee Policy, and as the permanent representative of the Holy See to the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna from 1956 to 1970;

Whereas, in pursuit of global social justice, Father Hesburgh reaffirmed the University of Notre Dame's commitment to human rights by helping to found the Kellogg Institute for International Studies and the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies at the University as well as the Center for Civil and Human Rights at the University of Notre Dame Law School;

Whereas Father Hesburgh was a longtime advocate for the responsible stewardship of atomic energy and gracefully brought together scientists, scholars, and spiritual leaders to work toward an end to nuclear conflict;

Whereas Father Hesburgh served as ambassador to the 1979 United Nations Conference on Science and Technology for Development, the first Catholic priest to formally hold a diplomatic position for the United States Government;

Whereas Father Hesburgh received both the Congressional Gold Medal and the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian awards, as well as more than 150 honorary degrees, the most ever awarded to a single individual;

Whereas, Father Hesburgh passed away on Thursday, February 26, 2015 but remains very much alive in the hearts of all who knew him and the University that he loved: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved by the Senate (the House of Representatives concurring), That the Congress—

1. Commemorates the life and achievements of Reverend Theodore M. Hesburgh, C.S.C., who throughout his life displayed extraordinary commitment to social justice and the improvement of higher education, and
2. Honors Reverend Theodore M. Hesburgh, C.S.C., for a lifetime of selfless dedication to  God, Country, and Notre Dame.
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