Kelley Tuthill on Fr. Hesburgh
Letter to the Editor | Saturday, February 28, 2015
I’m reflecting on Fr. Ted’s 97 years with awe, not sadness. What a truly amazing American life. For me, one of the greatest gifts of Fr. Ted’s life was coeducation. Notre Dame has had such a tremendous impact on my life and the lives of so many women. My Notre Dame experience not only enriched me intellectually, it strengthened my faith and commitment to service. My connections through the Notre Dame family continue to bring countless and unexpected gifts. My time as editor-in-chief of The Observer helped drive a lifelong passion for journalism. Fr. Ted made that all possible.
Most of all, he allowed me to share this unique and often hard-to-describe experience with my dad, Bruce Tuthill, class of 1964. Over the years, we have bonded over football victories and heartbreaks. We have lit countless candles together at the Grotto and shared beers and pizzas at Rocco’s. And now we mourn together that you are gone but celebrate all the ways you have strengthened Our Lady’s University and made our country better through your commitment to civil rights.
My favorite personal memory was in 2006. I came to campus with my three-month-old daughter Cecilia and saw Fr. Ted at a football game. He said a blessing over my baby girl and then asked Mary to bless her mother as well. Three months later, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I’ve always believed Fr. Ted’s blessing worked and gave me strength to face a challenging year of treatment. It’s now eight years later, and I am healthy and expecting another baby girl. Thank you, Fr. Ted, for blessing my life in so many ways.
Class of 1992
News Reporter, WCVB-TV (Boston)
Advisory board member, John W. Gallivan Program in Journalism, Ethics and Democracy