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Wednesday, May 29, 2024
The Observer

Knowing Fr. Hesburgh

I had the privilege of working as the Executive Assistant to Father Hesburgh before I was appointed Executive Vice President of the University. It was a privilege to have had the opportunity to work so closely with this very special man.

Of course, he was remarkable in what he accomplished and who he knew. He was advisor to popes and presidents, and during my time as his executive assistant I travelled with him, met incredible people, and saw first-hand how he worked and how much he was respected. His pragmatism combined with his vast knowledge and active mind enabled him to come up with solutions to problems that seemed insurmountable. He had a unique ability to bring people together to discuss issues and arrive at solutions, people who otherwise might not even be talking to each other. He was also probably one of the most well-read persons I had ever met.

But, of all the things about Father Hesburgh that are important, he was first and foremost a Holy Cross priest. He made that clear in so many ways. It was how he identified himself, and how he lived his life--from the simple room he resided in at Corby Hall to the worldwide stage on which he operated. Celebrating daily Mass and praying the Divine Office were givens, no matter where he was. Reaching out as a priest to people in need (sometimes even in danger to himself) was taken for granted. He was "Fr. Ted" to everybody who knew him, no matter how rich or poor, important or unknown that person might be. He was a wonderful role model for his brothers in Holy Cross.

I will always be grateful for the years I spent working with Father Hesburgh, years that helped shape my life as a priest and University administrator.

Fr. William BeauchamppresidentUniversity of Portland

20150226, Hesburgh, Beauchamp, Wei Lin

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.