Curtis Skinner | Reuters
Rev. Theodore Hesburgh, who reshaped the University of Notre Dame from a Catholic college known for its football team into an academic force, died late on Thursday night, the school said in a statement. He was 97.
Hesburgh, one of the premier Catholic educators in the United States and "champion of human rights", presided over the Indiana university for three and a half decades, stepping down in 1987, the statement said.
During his tenure, he grew the school's annual operating budget 18-fold to $176.6 million and nearly doubled its enrollment. He also oversaw the Notre Dame's transformation into a coeducational university when women were first admitted to its undergraduate program in 1972, the school said.