Since 1896, the University has conferred more than 300 honorary degrees. Recipients have come from virtually every walk of life – professors, poets, cops, kings, journalists, judges, bishops, and politicians. Included among them are Presidents Calvin Coolidge, Franklin Roosevelt, Dwight Eisenhower, and Lyndon Johnson; Rev. Mother (now Saint) Katharine Drexel, Rev. Theodore Hesburgh, Mother (now Saint) Teresa, Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, and Cardinals Francis Spellman, Stephen Wyszynski, George Basil Hume, and John O'Connor. Also, theologian Rev. Hans Urs Von Balthasar, philosopher Josef Pieper, singer Marian Anderson, composer Aaron Copland, actress Helen Hayes, announcer Ed McMahon, athlete Roger Staubach, comedian Bob Newhart, and journalists Tim Russert and Wolf Blitzer.
All have made contributions to the Church and/or society that earned them this special recognition. Most of the honorary degrees have been conferred at Commencement; some have been given on other special occasions.