hesburgh.nd.edu | September 8, 2015
After retiring as University president in 1987, Fr. Hesburgh moved into a book-lined office on the 13th floor of the library named after him, where he would spend much of his days for the next 28 years.
Here, Fr. Hesburgh’s calendar was crowded with writing books and correspondence, formal and impromptu meetings, daily and special Masses, arranged talks, planning trips around the country and world, and an endless succession of media interviews, dinners and awards ceremonies. His administrative assistant, Melanie Chapleau, kept order in his hectic schedule throughout these years. Rev. Edmund P. Joyce, C.S.C., who served as executive vice president during Hesburgh's 35 years as president, had an office next door until his death in 2004.
Fr. Hesburgh amassed a collection of more than 2,500 books signed by their authors, from Winston Churchill to Harper Lee. He also displayed curios from his travels around the world and some of his hundreds of awards and gifts of all kinds. And of course, there were his favorite Cuban cigars, enjoyed until the end in the only indoor space on campus where smoking was allowed.
Besides having one of the best Golden Dome views on campus, the office transformed over the years into a living museum of history and art, ranging from his pictures with presidents and popes to priceless art by famous sculptor Ivan Mestrovic.