The U.S. Postal Service on Friday, Sept. 1, issued a new Forever stamp honoring Father Theodore M. Hesburgh during a dedication ceremony on the campus of the University of Notre Dame, where he served as president for 35 years.
The stamp art features an oil-on-panel painting of Father Hesburgh standing on the campus of the University of Notre Dame. The portrait is based on a 1980 photograph taken by Notre Dame staff photographer Bruce Harlan. Art director Ethel Kessler designed the stamp with original art by Tim O’Brien.
“The Postal Service is pleased to issue a new Forever stamp honoring Father Theodore Hesburgh, considered one of the most important educational, religious and civic leaders of the 20th century,” said Postmaster General and CEO Megan J. Brennan. “This stamp is a lasting testament to his pioneering contributions as a champion of social justice, an advocate for international aid and an emissary for peace.”
Ordained to the priesthood of the Congregation of Holy Cross in 1943, Father Hesburgh was appointed to the faculty at Notre Dame in 1945. He became Notre Dame’s 15th president in 1952, a position he held for 35 years, the longest presidential term in the university’s history.
Father Hesburgh spearheaded successful efforts to strengthen the faculty and administration, improve academic standards and increase the university’s endowment.
Appointed to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights in 1957, Father Hesburgh helped to compile reports on racial discrimination and the denial of voting rights that resulted in the Omnibus Civil Rights Act of 1964. He was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom the same year, and he later founded the Center for Civil and Human Rights at Notre Dame.
A champion of causes ranging from education to immigration reform to the plight of underdeveloped nations, Father Hesburgh worked with a number of organizations that reflected his beliefs, including the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, the National Science Board, the Overseas Development Council and the Select Committee on Immigration and Refugee Policy.
In 1987, Father Hesburgh stepped down as Notre Dame’s president, devoting his time in retirement to supporting university initiatives, in particular, the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies and the Kellogg Institute for International Studies, and serving on various boards and presidential commissions.
Father Hesburgh was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal in 2000, one of many awards and honors received during his lifetime.