Co-President Gordon J. DiRenzo

Ladies and Gentlemen!

I do not have any problem addressing the ladies as "ladies," but I never thought that I would ever call you guys "gentlemen."

(Chorus of friendly boo's)

It's amazing what a Notre Dame Education can do!

Fifty years! A half-century!

Are you feeling old? (Chorus of loud "No's)

Are you feeling young? (Chorus of loud "Yes')

One evening a sixteen year-old grandson was talking to his grandfather about current events. He asked what the grandfather thought about the shootings at schools, the computer age, and just things in general.

The granddad replied, "Well, let me think for a minute.....I was born before television, penicillin, polio shots, frozen foos, Xerox, contact lenses, Frisbees and the pill."

"There was no radar, credit cards, laser beams, or ball-point pens. Man had not invented pantyhose, air conditioners, dishwashers, clothes dryers (the cloths were hung out to dry in the fresh air) and man had not yet walked on the moon."

"Your grandmother and I got married first -- and then lived together. Every family had a father and a mother, and every boy over fourteen had a rifle that his dad taught him how to use and respect. And they went hunting and fishing together. Until I was 25, I called every man older than I 'Sir' -- and after I turned twenty-five, I still called policemen and every man with a title 'Sir'

"Sundays were set aside for going to church as a family, helping those in need, and visiting family or neighbors."

"We were before gay rights, computer dating, dual careers, daycare centers, and group therapy. Our lives were governed by the Ten Commandments, good judgment, and common sense. We were taught to know the difference between right and wrong and to stand up and take responsibility for our actions."

"Serving your country was a privilege; living here was a bigger privilege."

"We thought fast food was what people ate during Lent. Having a meaningful relationship meant getting along with your cousins."

'Draft dodgers were people who closed their front doors when the evening breeze started."

"Time-sharing meant time the family spent together in the evenings and weekends -- not purchasing condominiums."

"We never heard of FM radios, tape decks, CD's, electric typewriters, yogurt, or guys wearing earrings. We listened to the Big Bands, Jack Benny, and the President's speeches on our radios. And I don't ever remember any kid blowing out his brains listening to Tommy Dorsey."

'"Pizza Hut, McDonald's, and instant coffee were unheard of. We had 5 & 10-cent stores where you could actually buy things for five and ten cents."

"Ice cream cones, phone calls, rides on a streetcar, and a Pepsi were all a nickel. And if you did not want to splurge, you could spend your nickel on enough stamps to mail one letter and two postcards."

"You could buy a new Chevy Coupe for $600, but who could afford one? Too bad, because gas was eleven cents a gallon."

"In my day, 'grass' was mowed, 'coke' was a cold drink, 'pot' was something your mother cooked in, and 'rock music' was your grandmother's lullaby."

'Aids' were helpers in the principal's office, 'chip' meant a piece of wood, 'hardware' was found in a hardware store, and 'software' was not even a word."

'And we were the last generation actually to believe that a lady needed a husband to have a baby."

"No wonder people sometimes call us 'old and confused' and say that there is a generation gap -- a big generation gap. But, hey we are only in our early seventies!"


Permit me to offer a bit of professional counseling. The trick to staying young is to close the generation gap -- and to be tolerant of, and kind to, our children and grandchildren.

Remember: they will be selecting our nursing homes!

Meanwhile, let us be ever grateful for all of God's gifts and blessings that come with each new generation.

Thank you.



In 1952, when we were making our way to the campus to enroll for our freshman year, there was one person who had begun his freshman year a couple of months before us --

Not only was he the first of our Class to arrive at Notre Dame, he is still here! He won't leave! He doesn't want to leave! We don't want him to leave!

During these intervening fifty-four years, he realized his life-long ambition: to build a great Catholic university here at Notre Dame.

History now shows that he surpassed that goal by building in fact the greatest Catholic University in the world -- and, indeed, even more than that. With a little intellectual help from all of you, he brought into being one of the most prestigious universities in the world today!

We are all in debt to this man. We have infinite respect and admiration for him. And, we love him immensely.

You all know who I am talking about. You all know his story.

There is nothing more for me to say than to ask you to warmly and affectionately welcome Mr. Notre Dame: Father Ted Hesburgh.



When we used to gather on Friday nights in the Old Fieldhouse during the football season, we had a very popular cheer that I have not heard in a long time. It went something like this:

"He's a man!"


"Who's a man?"

"He's a Notre Dame Man!"

"Hesburgh! Hesburgh! Hesburgh!"

Gordon J. DiRenzo