TIME Rememberance

Former Notre Dame President Theodore Hesburgh Dies at 97

FILE - The Rev. Theodore Hesburgh, C.S.C, president emeritus of the University of Notre Dame, talks about his experiences over 90 years of life at his desk in the Hesburgh Library on the campus of the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind., in this Sept. 24, 2007 file photo
Joe Raymond—AP Theodore Hesburgh, president emeritus of the University of Notre Dame, talks about his experiences over 90 years of life at his desk in the Hesburgh Library on the campus of the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind., on Sept. 24, 2007

A champion of human rights, Hesburgh transformed Notre Dame into a premier academic institution

(South Bend, Ind.) — The Rev. Theodore Hesburgh, who transformed the University of Notre Dame into a school known almost as much for academics as football and who championed human rights around the globe, has died. He was 97.

University spokesman Paul Browne told The Associated Press that Hesburgh died on the South Bend, Indiana, campus around 11:30 p.m. Thursday. The cause of death wasn’t immediately known, he said.

“We mourn today a great man and faithful priest who transformed the University of Notre Dame and touched the lives of many,” said the Rev. John Jenkins, Notre Dame’s current president. “With his leadership, charisma and vision, he turned a relatively small Catholic college known for football into one of the nation’s great institutions for higher learning.”

Hesburgh spent 35 years at the Notre Dame helm, earning a reputation as one of the nation’s top Catholic educators. But the man known simply as Father Ted to the thousands who attended the school while he was president from 1952 to 1987 was perhaps even more recognized for his work around the world on issues such as civil rights, immigration, peaceful uses of nuclear energy and Third World development.

That work often took him far from campus — including Washington, Moscow and El Salvador — as he advised popes and presidents, at times challenging their policies. His aim was constant: Better people’s lives.

“I go back to an old Latin motto, opus justitiae pax: Peace is the work of justice,” Hesburgh said in a 2001 interview. “We’ve known 20 percent of the people in the world have 80 percent of the goodies, which means the other 80 percent have to scrape by on 20 percent.”

Hesburgh, who grew up in Syracuse, New York, was a charming and personable man who found as much ease meeting with heads of state as he did with students. His goal after coming out of seminary was to be a Navy chaplain during World War II, but he instead was sent to Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., to pursue a doctorate, which he received in 1945. He joined the Notre Dame faculty that same year.

His star rose quickly. Hesburgh was named head of the Department of Theology in 1948 and became the university’s executive vice president a year later. He took over as president in 1952 at age 35.

His passion for civil rights earned him a spot as a founding member of the U.S. Civil Rights Commission in 1957 and found him joining hands with Martin Luther King Jr. at a 1964 civil rights rally in Chicago, singing “We Shall Overcome.”

Hesburgh was a man who wasn’t afraid to challenge authority. As Notre Dame’s executive vice president in 1949, he took on powerful football coach Frank Leahy while reorganizing the athletic department. When the Vatican demanded conformity to church dogma, Hesburgh insisted that Notre Dame remain an intellectual center for theological debate. He also famously challenged the civil rights record of President Richard Nixon, who fired him from the Civil Rights Commission in 1972.

“I said, ‘I ended this job the way that I began 15 years ago — fired with enthusiasm,'” Hesburgh said in 2007.

Hesburgh’s relationship with other presidents was smoother. He received the Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, from President Lyndon Johnson in 1964 and later served on President Gerald Ford’s Presidential Clemency Board, charged with deciding the fate of various Vietnam offenders. In 2000, then-President Bill Clinton hailed Hesburgh as “a servant and a child of God, a genuine American patriot and a citizen of the world” as he bestowed upon him the government’s highest honor, the Congressional Gold Medal.

Hesburgh wrote several books, including one, “God, Country, Notre Dame,” that became a best-seller. Throughout his writings, he shared his vision of the contemporary Catholic university.

“The Catholic university should be a place,” he wrote, “where all the great questions are asked, where an exciting conversation is continually in progress, where the mind constantly grows as the values and powers of intelligence and wisdom are cherished and exercised in full freedom.”

In keeping with that philosophy, Notre Dame underwent profound changes under Hesburgh. Control of the school shifted in 1967 from the Congregation of the Holy Cross priests who founded the school to a lay board. The school ended a 40-year absence in football post-season bowl games and used the proceeds from the 1970 Cotton Bowl to fund minority scholarships. In 1972, Notre Dame admitted its first undergraduate women. Hesburgh called it one of his proudest accomplishments.

Hesburgh’s ambitions helped mold the university. The school was rather undistinguished academically when he became president. It had 4,979 students, 389 faculty and an annual operating budget of $9.7 million. When he retired in 1987, Notre Dame had 9,600 students, 950 faculty and an operating budget of $176.6 million. The school’s endowment grew from $9 million to $350 million during his presidency. When he retired, the school was rated among the nation’s most prestigious.

“I’m sure I get credit for a lot of things that I’m part of but not necessarily the whole of,” he said. “We began a great university and those who followed continued the motion forward.”

Hesburgh’s work earned him the cover of Time magazine in a 1962 article that described him as the most influential figure in the reshaping of Catholic education. He was granted 150 honorary degrees during his lifetime.

Despite the accolades, Hesburgh drew his share of criticism. Some said he spent too much time away from campus pursuing other issues. Others objected to the “15-minute rule” he implemented after students protesting the Vietnam War clashed with police on campus. Under the policy, students who disrupted the university’s normal operations would be given 15 minutes of meditation to cease and desist or would be expelled from school.

As a young priest, Hesburgh’s students included Jose Napoleon Duarte, whose 1984 election as El Salvador’s president set that country on a path to democracy after years of civil war. Hesburgh’s decision to have Duarte give Notre Dame’s 1985 commencement address was met by protests blaming Duarte and the Reagan administration for continued political killings and poverty in the Central American nation. Hesburgh wrote that the presentation of an honorary degree to Duarte didn’t mean the university has to agree with all he was doing.

Hesburgh also supported the university’s decision in 2009 to invite President Barack Obama to speak at commencement. At least 70 bishops opposed Obama’s appearance and Notre Dame’s decision to award him an honorary degree because of the president’s support of abortion rights and embryonic stem-cell research. Hesburgh said universities are supposed to be places where people of differing opinions can talk.

Through it all, he stayed true to what he called his basic principle: “You don’t make decisions because they are easy; you don’t make them because they are cheap; you don’t make them because they’re popular; you make them because they’re right.”

Hesburgh remained active at Notre Dame in his retirement, lecturing occasionally, presiding over residence hall Masses and helping develop the school’s Kellogg Institute for International Studies and the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies. Most of all, though, he was a priest. He said Mass daily throughout his life.

“I’ve said Mass in airplanes at 50,000 feet. I’ve said Mass in the South Pole. I’ve said Mass in jungles all over the world. I’ve said Mass in African huts. I’ve said Mass in cathedrals. Wherever I am, I’ve been able to do it for over 60 years every day and only miss a couple of times in all those years,” Hesburgh said.

Jenkins, the current president, said Hesburgh’s greatest influence may have been on the generations of Notre Dame students he taught, counseled and befriended.

“Although saddened by his loss, I cherish the memory of a mentor, friend and brother in Holy Cross and am consoled that he is now at peace with the God he served so well,” Jenkins said.

The university said that a customary Holy Cross funeral Mass will be celebrated in the Basilica of the Sacred Heart on campus at a time to be announced. The university also said a tribute to Hesburgh will be held at the Joyce Center.

TIME Military

U.S. Military Records Longest Period Without a Combat Death Since 9/11

US Army Medevac Tends To The Wounded In Afghanistan
Justin Sullivan—Getty Images A U.S. Army doctor monitors a patient inside a MEDEVAC helicopter on June 20, 2010, in Kandahar, Afghanistan.

It’s been more than two months since a U.S. solider has died in a combat zone

The U.S. military is currently enjoying its longest stretch without a combat death since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

Wednesday marked the 75th day since American forces suffered its last fatality, when two soldiers were killed in Afghanistan’s Parwan province on Dec. 12 after their vehicle hit an improvised explosive device, reports the Washington Post.

The newspaper tallied the figure following a panel discussion at New York University’s campus in Washington D.C., after the father of a deceased serviceman raised a question pertaining to combat deaths during a Q&A session.

Read more at the Washington Post.

TIME Know Right Now

Know Right Now: Netanyahu’s Upcoming Visit Causes Tension Between the U.S. and Israel

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is set to address Congress on March 3

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is set to speak before a joint session of Congress on March 3, but the upcoming speech is already making waves.

Watch the latest #KnowRightNow to catch up on this developing story.

TIME Cuba

Cuban President Raúl Castro Honors Spies Jailed in U.S. as National Heroes

Raul Castro, Gerardo Hernandez, Ramon Labanino,  Antonio Guerrero
Ramon Espinosa—AP Cuba's President Raul Castro and Gerardo Hernandez salute, as fellow agents Ramon Labanino, background, second from right, and Antonio Guerrero applaud during a medal ceremony, in Havana, Cuba, Tuesday, Feb. 24, 2015

The awards come despite thawing relations between Washington and Havana

Cuban President Raúl Castro awarded medals to five men on Tuesday, calling them national heroes for their espionage work in the U.S.

“The Cuban Five,” as they were nicknamed, had attempted to infiltrate Cuban exile groups within the U.S. but were arrested and imprisoned in 1998, Reuters reports.

All were sentenced to lengthy prison terms, but three were released from U.S. custody on Dec. 17 when President Barack Obama announced a shift in Washington’s relationship with Havana. (The remaining pair had already returned to their homeland.)

In exchange for the final three spies, the Cuban government released a Cuban prisoner convicted 20 years ago of spying on his home country for the U.S.

The prisoner exchange was one element of a dramatic recent shift in U.S.-Cuba relations. Both countries have announced that they will restore diplomatic relations after decades of hostility and sanctions.

The Cuban Five were presented to a group of Cuban government officials, military officers and dignitaries at the Cuban parliament. Castro led the ceremony, but his brother, former President Fidel Castro, was not seen. Fidel, 88, has not appeared publicly in over a year.

Gerardo Hernandez, 49, was the leader of the arrested spies. “The honor that we receive today also demands that we rise to the challenges facing the revolution,” he said.

[Reuters]

TIME Crime

Eddie Ray Routh Found Guilty of Murdering American Sniper Chris Kyle

The 27-year-old was sentenced to life in prison

A Texas jury on Tuesday found Eddie Ray Routh guilty of the murder of American Sniper author Chris Kyle and his friend Chad Littlefield. He was sentenced to life in prison.

Routh, 27, a former Marine, admitted to killing ex-Navy SEAL Kyle and Littlefield at a shooting range in 2013, but professed his innocence because of supposedly suffering a psychotic break. Erath County district attorney Alan Nash told the jury to ignore Routh’s insanity defense, arguing that his apparent episodes of mental instability were caused by alcohol and marijuana abuse, according to the Associated Press.

“I am tired of the proposition that if you have mental illness that you can’t be held responsible for what you do,” he said.

Routh’s defense attorney Warren St. John insisted that his client was battling schizophrenia, claiming that the mental disorder created a delusion that Kyle and Littlefield were going to kill him.

“He was not intoxicated, folks, he was psychotic,” he said.

The case, heard in Stephenville, Texas, attracted national interest in large part because of Clint Eastwood’s Oscar-nominated film adaptation of Kyle’s book about his four tours during the Iraq war, with the controversial movie grossing over $430 million worldwide.

Kyle was renowned as the most lethal sniper in U.S. military history with 160 confirmed kills.

Littlefield’s mother, Judy, expressed her relief at the guilty verdict outside the courtroom, “We’ve waited two years for God to give justice for us on the behalf of our son,” she said in a statement. “And as usual, God has been faithful and given us the verdict we want.”

TIME cities

Rahm Emanuel Seeks to Avoid Runoff in Chicago Mayoral Election

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel talks with residents at a senior living center during a campaign stop on Feb. 23, 2015 in Chicago.
Scott Olson—Getty Images Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel talks with residents at a senior living center during a campaign stop on Feb. 23, 2015 in Chicago.

The incumbent must receive at least 50% of the vote in Tuesday's election

It’s Election Day in Chicago, and Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the four candidates that are vying for his spot spent the past couple of days scrambling for last-minute votes.

Emanuel needs to get over 50% of the vote in order to avoid a runoff in the non-partisan contest. He’s raised about $15 million in the race, according to the Chicago Tribune, and has received vocal support from President Obama, who praised his former White House chief of staff during a visit to Chicago last week. The president has appeared in a radio spot, is featured in Emanuel’s latest ad, and even stopped by a campaign office during his visit.

Emanuel’s biggest challenge comes from Cook County Commissioner Jesus “Chuy” Garcia, who has criticized the mayor for spending big in the race—saying it’s proof that wealthy donors are funding his campaign.

According to a recent Chicago Tribune poll, Emanuel had 45% of the vote while Garcia had 20%. Challengers Alderman Bob Fioretti and Businessman Willie Wilson each had 7% of the vote and candidate William Walls held 2% of the vote.

[Chicago Tribune]

TIME Crime

Fifty Shades of Grey Inspired Student’s Sexual Assault, Prosecutors Say

Mohammad Hossain has been charged with criminal sexual assault after an incident over the weekend where scenes from the '50 Shades of Grey' movie were recreated—Cook County Sheriff's
Cook County Sheriff's Office Mohammad Hossain has been charged with criminal sexual assault after an incident over the weekend

Chicago freshman is accused of using restraints and sexual violence without a woman's consent

A University of Illinois-Chicago (UIC) college freshman has been accused of sexually assaulting a 19-year-old female classmate during what prosecutors said Monday was a reenactment of scenes from the movie Fifty Shades of Grey.

Mohammad Hossain, 19, and the woman went to Hossain’s dorm room on Saturday evening where Hossain is accused of using restraints and sexual violence without the woman’s consent, Assistant State’s Attorney Sarah Karr told the Chicago Tribune. After leaving the dorm room, the woman told someone about the incident and the police were called.

Upon initial questioning by university detectives, Hossain confessed to the assault and told them that he and the female were re-creating parts of the movie, which features scenes of bondage and sadomasochism. He also admitted to “doing something wrong,” the Tribune reports. He has been charged with aggravated criminal sexual assault, a felony.

Hossain is a student leader at UIC, prompting Cook County judge Adam Bourgeois Jr. to ask how a movie could “persuade him to do something like this?” Public defender Sandra Bennewitz responded, “He would say that it was consensual.”

The movie, which has so far grossed over $130 million in the U.S, has been targeted by groups working to prevent domestic abuse, who say it promotes violence against women.

Hossain’s bail was set at $500,000.

[Chicago Tribune]

Read next: This Guy Really Doesn’t Want You To Know He Saw Fifty Shades of Grey

Listen to the most important stories of the day.

TIME politics

Veterans Affairs Secretary Apologizes for Misstating Military Record

FILE - In this Feb. 11, 2015, file photo, Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, before the House Veterans' Affairs Committee hearing on the Department of Veterans Affairs budget. McDonald apologized Monday, Feb. 23, 2015, for misstating that he served in the military's special forces
Manuel Balce Ceneta—AP Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald testifies on Capitol Hill on Feb. 11, 2015

While conversing with a homeless man, McDonald falsely claimed that he served in the special forces

(WASHINGTON) — Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald apologized Monday for misstating that he served in the military’s special forces.

McDonald made the erroneous claim while speaking to a homeless veteran during a segment that aired last month on “CBS Evening News.”

In a statement released Monday by the VA, McDonald said: “While I was in Los Angeles, engaging a homeless individual to determine his veteran status, I asked the man where he had served in the military. He responded that he had served in special forces. I incorrectly stated that I had been in special forces. That was inaccurate and I apologize to anyone that was offended by my misstatement.”

The VA website says McDonald is an Army veteran who served with the 82nd Airborne Division. The Huffington Post website, which first reported on McDonald’s mistake, noted Monday that the 82nd is not considered part of special forces.

McDonald said he remains committed “to the ongoing effort to reform VA.”

The White House issued a statement Monday saying, “We take him at his word and expect that this will not impact the important work he’s doing to promote the health and well-being of our nation’s veterans.”

President Barack Obama chose the former Procter & Gamble CEO to take over the scandal-plagued VA last year, and McDonald took office last July. The questions about McDonald’s service come as TV newsmen Brian Williams and Bill O’Reilly have had their claims about covering foreign wars called into question.

TIME U.S.

Lawmaker Asks if Gynecological Exams Can Be Done by Swallowing a Camera

In this Jan. 5, 2012 file photo, Idaho Rep. Vito Barbieri talks with reporters at the Capitol building in Boise, Idaho
Matt Cilley—AP Idaho Representative Vito Barbieri talks with reporters at the Capitol building in Boise, Idaho, on Jan. 5, 2012

He receives a brief lesson on female anatomy in return

(BOISE, Idaho) — An Idaho lawmaker received a brief lesson on female anatomy after asking if a woman can swallow a small camera for doctors to conduct a remote gynecological exam.

The question Monday from Republican state Rep. Vito Barbieri came as the House State Affairs Committee heard nearly three hours of testimony on a bill that would ban doctors from prescribing abortion-inducing medication through telemedicine.

Dr. Julie Madsen was testifying in opposition to the bill when Barbieri asked the question. Madsen replied that would be impossible because swallowed pills do not end up in the vagina.

“Fascinating. That makes sense,” Barbieri said, amid the crowd’s laughter.

The committee approved the bill 13-4 on a party-line vote, where it now goes to the House floor for a full vote. Barbieri, who sits on the board of a crisis pregnancy center in northern Idaho, voted in favor of the legislation.

Under HB154, abortion-inducing medication could not be administered through telemedicine —which does not currently happen in Idaho— and requires doctors to make “all reasonable efforts” to schedule a follow-up visit. The bill is backed by the anti-abortion group Idaho Choose Life.

Anti-abortion advocates argue that the bill will protect women who may have an adverse reaction to abortion medication. Those opposed counter that the bill is an attempt to restrict abortions, pointing to women living in rural areas where access to clinics is already limited.

The measure is one of several abortion-related bills Idaho lawmakers are considering this legislative session.

This includes a proposed bill seeking to define the scope of telemedicine in Idaho, which somewhat overlaps with HB154, because it specifically bans would ban doctors from prescribing abortion drugs via videoconferencing. Over in the Idaho Senate, lawmakers are considering a bill that would require doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at a local hospital.

The House State Affairs Committee is considered one of the most conservative committees in Idaho’s Republican-controlled Statehouse. Already this year, the committee has killed a proposal that would provide legal protections to gay and lesbian Idahoans and halted legislation proposed by a 14-year-old girl to designate the Idaho Giant Salamander as the official state amphibian. It has endorsed, however, a bill that would expand parental rights in Idaho law.

“Children have no way to really challenge the forces that harm them and unborn children are especially susceptible to harm,” said Republican Rep. Linden Bateman. “In my view, this may reduce the number of abortions.”

This isn’t the first time Idaho lawmakers have received attention while debating abortion legislation.

In 2013, Republican Rep. Ron Mendive drew audible gasps in a committee when he asked if the American Civil Liberties Union-Idaho’s pro-abortion stance also meant they supported prostitution. A year prior, Republican Sen. Chuck Winder drew national criticism after he suggested on the Senate floor that a doctor should ask a woman who says she was raped could have been caused by “normal relations in a marriage.”

TIME Innovation

Five Best Ideas of the Day: February 19

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

1. Are rising tensions between nuclear powers and an increased risk of rogue actors getting weapons spurring a new nuclear age?

By Rod Lyons in RealClearDefense

2. Psychological barriers — not science — are holding back progress on treating wastewater, improving crop yields and more.

By Maria Konnikova in the New Yorker

3. Massive computing power and better tools are making it harder to hide submarines. Are they becoming obsolete?

By Harry J. Kazianis in the National Interest

4. It’s too soon to celebrate a win in the Net Neutrality battle.

By Blair Levin in Re/code

5. Mumbling isn’t lazy speech. It’s data compression.

By Julie Sedivy in Nautilus

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

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