SOUTH BEND, Ind., Feb. 27 (UPI) -- The Rev. Theodore M. Hesburgh, the influential former president of the University of Notre Dame, died at age 97.
Hesburgh, who served as the university's president for 35 years, was known as a civil-rights champion, walking hand-in-hand with Martin Luther King, Jr. at the Walk for Freedom Civil Rights march in 1964 and serving as a member of the United States Commission on Civil Rights. During his tenure, Hesburgh opened the school's enrollment to women and changed the role of Catholic higher education in the nation. When he retired in 1987, Newsweek called him "the nation's most recognized Roman Catholic priest and, arguably, the most influential."