By Joel ConnellySeattlePI.com Staff Writer

He welcomed both pro-choice (Jimmy Carter) and pro-life (Ronald Reagan) presidents at graduation time, so longtime (1952-87) Notre Dame President the Rev. Theodore M. Hesburgh isn't swayed by protests over this year's commencement speech by President Barack Obama.

"No speaker who has ever come to Notre Dame has changed the university. We are who we are. But, quite often, the very fact of being here has changed the speaker," "Father Ted" recently told a group of students and alums.

------------------------------------

The Notre Dame controversy has shown one thing: Nobody with a purple face, or wearing a purple hat, will dictate to my alma mater.

Why was I ever a student troublemaker when a man of such wisdom was running my university?

Successor the Rev. John Jenkins made a bold decision in following ND's 32-year tradition of inviting newly elected presidents to address newly minted graduates. -- Our 44th president supports the right to abortion and embryonic stem cell research.

To read Mr. Connelly's complete column, click here.