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A look inside Father Hesburgh’s Domer Den

Apr 30, 2012, 4:15 PM EDT

Theodore Hesburgh

A quick call to an ambassador in Russia. Early entry into communist China. Bartering with the President of the United States for the only civilian ride on an SR-71 Blackbird. More medals and honors then the most decorated Olympian. (He’s even got a torch from the Salt Lake games laying around…)

To call Father Theodore Hesburgh, the President Emeritus of Notre Dame, a living legend is a disservice to the man. Living above the University on the 13th floor of the library bearing him name, Hesburgh is one of America’s true national treasures, and the fine folks in the Notre Dame Athletics department got a quick tour from Father Ted and shared it in their Domer Dens feature.

(Tough break for the slouch who has to follow this episode up…)

While this isn’t a football story, I thought this was worth sharing, if only for the trip it took me down memory lane. I was lucky enough to spend some time up in Father Ted’s 13th floor nook when I was a student, sharing a private mass with my roommates and our moms on a spring weekend. If I knew then what I knew now, I’d have spent a little bit more time looking around.

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  1. irishking - Apr 30, 2012 at 4:38 PM

    Father Hesburgh is one of the most gracious, humble and impressive individuals I have ever met.

    • Jennifer - May 2, 2012 at 8:02 AM

      I came to this post of Keith’s late, and am so glad I didn’t miss it. Fr. Ted. Wow….Please forgive a personal reflection that isn’t only limited to x’s and o’s, but I think Fr. Ted’s leadership permeates every aspect of ND, and so there is a football story in this video and the reaction to the bigger school picture…”Fr. Ted & PS I = Physical, Spiritual, Intellectual.” These are the “Big Three” components that determine the life we choose to live, and how it affects choices we each make in life each and every day. I have volunteered at Mother Teresa’s home for children in Calcutta, and there are many parallells between those two. This nobel peace prize winner lived in a 6 x 8 room, with only a twin bed, a desk, and chair. Like Mother Teresa, Fr. Ted eschewed the huge salaries of fellow university president (I think his salary was $1/year.) His possessions are primarily gifts that often meant more to the giver than the recipient. It is an honorable thing to graciously accept these tokens of appreciation. He, too, lived/lives a life of complete service. I know this is a football blog, and hope I haven’t strayed too far away from the x’s and o’s, but as “leadership starts at the top” of any organization, recruits would do well to process the (not-so-subtle) differences in schools, and reflect on the bigger picture. Fr. Hesburgh and his successors live lives of leadership and legacy that has the eyes and ears of THE WORLD! This is what truly makes Notre Dame special. All 17 or 18 year old’s feel invincible, but the sad reality is that one bad injury can end a career. This is why a degree from ND is often touted for their academics and future employment benefits. Notre Dame truly is elite, with lifetime benefits due to the PSI theory. It’s like winning the lottery – big time!

  2. bernhtp - Apr 30, 2012 at 5:51 PM

    Fr. Ted is an amazing and bigger-than-life man. We should all be grateful for all the time we have been given with him.

  3. jerseyshorendfan1 - Apr 30, 2012 at 8:40 PM

    Wow…….very impressive. More impressive than the SR-71, the medals, the Olympic torch and all the other stuff was the effort to help the student’s mother come to the U.S. for her treatment. Goes to show you that we can all take steps to better the lives of those around us in some way.

  4. norcalirish - May 1, 2012 at 6:33 AM

    He’s an interesting guy. His office is just how I remember it.

  5. 1notredamefan - May 1, 2012 at 4:49 PM

    GREAT article and video! These are the real reasons to be a die hard ND fan! The University stands for more important things than just Saturdays and It makes me proud to wear the Blue and Gold regardless of our records!!

  6. lagrangevillejim - May 1, 2012 at 8:14 PM

    One time I was waiting for my wife and daughters inside the JACC near a side entrance. Fr. Hesburgh walked up to the entrance, the ushers unlocked the doors to let him in, and then made a big fuss over him. I was watching this from about 20-25 feet away.

    Fr. Hesburgh noticed that I was watching and went out of his way to come over, extend his hand, and say, “Hi. I’m Father Ted.” It was very gracious of him to do this and I’ve never forgotten.

  7. prophetjcb - May 2, 2012 at 6:10 AM

    Thanks for including this one, Keith. I’ve always said that what makes Notre Dame amazing isn’t the fact that it’s a great football school, or a great academic school, or a great Catholic school. It’s the fact that they are all three. Take any one of those three ingredients away, and you lose part of the mystique. To my religious and academically-minded friends, I remind them that football has made an immense contribution to the school’s legendary stature – without it, ND would just be another mid-sized, midwest Catholic college. But to my football friends, I explain that Notre Dame’s academic life and religious culture are truly amazing and have been woven into the football tradition in ways you could never separate, and would never want to. But it is the combination of all three things that make the place completely unique. There are schools that have better football programs, higher academic standards, and more fervent faith. But there is no place that is so strong at all three simultaneously, and striving without rest to be better at each. That’s why Notre Dame matters. That’s why Notre Dame makes a difference. And no one person exemplifies that spirit more than Fr. Ted.

  8. norcalirish - May 3, 2012 at 4:47 AM

    Well put prophetjcb

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