Beloved President Emeritus of the University of Notre Dame, Rev. Theodore Hesburgh, CSC, turns 96 years old on May 25, but he celebrated early on Tuesday with some of the first female graduates of the school.
Anne Therese Palmer orchestrates the celebration each year, which brings back fellow grads from all over the country to spend the day with Fr. Hesburgh.
The day started with a mass at Notre Dame and continued on at a luncheon, complete with balloons and birthday cake and a performance by the Glee Club at the Morris Park Country Club.
Fr. Hesburgh says he took a great deal of heat when he decided to first admit women to the university in 1972, but it is a decision that made Our Lady’s university a better place.
“Today 50 percent of our people are women, and people said you're going to wreck the place. And I said we're going to make it better and if you need any evidence of that the last two valedictorians have been women,” said Fr. Hesburgh.
According to Palmer, being among the first women at Notre Dame was momentous, “Next to getting married and having my children this is the most important thing that happened in my life. And it wouldn't have happened without Father Ted.”