Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


School of Education


Higher Education Administration PhD

First Advisor

Hinsdale Bernard

Second Advisor

Shirley A. Freed

Third Advisor

Luanne Bauer


Problem Statement. Literature reveals that college or university presidents play a key role in raising funds for their institutions. These roles are well documented, and yet many presidents face challenges in raising adequate funds for their institutions. Success stories of some university presidents are recorded, but no research has studied their rhetoric in raising funds in an attempt to uncover their formula for success. One such president is Theodore Hesburgh of the University of Notre Dame.

Methodology. This study assumes a rhetorical design, specifically the Burkean dramatistic approach to analyze Theodore Hesburgh's fund-raising speeches to the alumni of the University of Notre Dame. Data were Hesburgh’s fund-raising speeches that he gave to the alumni.

Conclusion. Hesburgh’s formula for success in raising funds for the University of Notre Dame has five key components:

1. He connects and establishes identification with the alumni not because the University is their alma mater, but because they are to serve the world on behalf of the University.

2. He focuses outward on universals not inward on institutional needs. As the alumni disseminate established principles and values learned at the University of Notre Dame, they are actually engaging in responding to the needs of the University.

3. His appeal is for the alumni to work hard for the University and makes giving money an easy way to accomplish the work.

4. He focuses on alumni, not current students. Alumni do not give to the University to help poor students have the same experience the alumni had, but he reminds them of their experiences while at the University and how those experiences have gotten them to where they are in life.

5. He focuses on what the University has, not on what it does not have--these are the principles and values the University imparts to students and they are those to which the University can hold students accountable.

Subject Area

Educational fund raising--Indiana--South Bend.

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