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Hesburgh, Former Notre Dame president, dies at 97

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP): The priest who transformed the University of Notre Dame into an academic power during his 35 years in charge while also serving as an adviser to popes and presidents has died.

University spokesman Paul Browne says the Rev. Theodore Hesburgh died Thursday night at age 97.

Hesburgh, who grew up in Syracuse, N.Y., was Notre Dame president from 1952 to 1987. During that time the university grew in size and stature and control of Notre Dame shifted from the order of priests who founded it to a lay board. He also was president when Notre Dame began admitting women in 1972.

Hesburgh also was a social activist who held hands with Martin Luther King Jr. during a 1964 civil rights rally and served on the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence says former Hesburgh's life “epitomized servant leadership'' and helped make the world a better place.

Senator Dan Coats said, “he was a powerful voice on numerous important issues, including civil rights, higher education and faith. “

“Father Hesburgh always stood for what was right,” Senator Joe Donnelly, a ND alumni, “He ministered to the whole country and the whole world.”

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