On Sunday, May 17, 2009 President Obama received an honorary degree from the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana and addressed the class of 2009. In his commencement speech Obama called for both sides of the abortion debate to stop demonizing each other. He implored the graduates against
"reducing those with differing views to caricature. Open hearts. Open minds. Fair-minded words. It's a way of life that always has been the Notre Dame tradition."
He cited the civils rights legacy of Fr. Ted Hesberg, former president of Notre Dame and Cardinal Bernadine, now deceased, as examples of men who transformed the debates of our time by bringing people together to seek common ground.