SOUTH BEND, Ind.--- His 97th birthday is still a month away, but that didn't stop the women among Notre Dame's first female graduates from celebrating with Father Ted a bit earlier today.
Years ago this group of women started returning to Notre Dame to celebrate Father Theodore Hesburgh's birthday.
They are thankful Father Ted pushed to get women admitted to our lady's university.
Among them, Mary Davey Bliley, who transferred to Notre Dame in 1970 when Notre Dame and St. Mary's were proposed to merged.
The merger was called off in 1971 while Mary was studying in Notre Dame's business school.
She was in limbo, but says Father Ted didn't let her down.
“The dean of the business school, Dean Raymond, always said ‘don't worry red, Father Hesburgh and I will take care of you,’ and I ended up graduating that year, in 1972, before they officially became co-ed as the first and the only woman in my class,” said Bliley.
Father Hesburgh also reflected on that controversial time.
“I have to say since the women arrived here the place is 100 percent better,” said Father Ted.
Notre Dame's Glee Club also stopped by to serenade Father Ted, and he indulged those who attended with several photographs.
My thanks to those first Notre Dame women for invited their Saint Mary's buddy to join them for this wonderful celebration each year.