Alumni: Love Letters to Father Ted

THE Rev. Theodore M. Hesburgh, president of Notre Dame from 1952 to 1987, turned 90 in May.

To celebrate, a book of alumni reminiscences, "Thanking Father Ted: 35 Years of Notre Dame Coeducation," is to be published in August by Andrews McMeel. Profits will go to establish a Hesburgh scholarship at the university. Some of the letters from alumni chronicle Father Hesburgh's push to admit women; others recall those small gestures remembered for a lifetime. Kathleen Dickinson Villano, now a high school teacher in Linwood, N.J., wrote about one such lesson:

Dear Father Ted,

It was May 6, 1977. A picnic was planned on the South Quad to mark your 25th anniversary as president. When I reached the food line checker, I was told it would cost me $10 because I lived off campus. I was incensed, as only a soon-to-be-graduated 22-year-old know-it-all could be. As soon as I got home I wrote you a letter. I felt better after having expressed my indignation. Until only four days later when I received your reply.

You enclosed two $5 bills. I was mortified.

Always the educator, you also enclosed my original letter. Reading my self-righteous missive next to your gracious reply was a lesson I would never forget.