Joan B. Kroc, a nationally recognized philanthropist and generous benefactor of the University of Notre Dame, died Sunday in the San Diego suburb of Rancho Santa Fe of brain cancer at age 75.p. The widow of McDonald’s Corp. founder Ray Kroc, Mrs. Kroc made a $6-million gift to Notre Dame in 1986 to establish the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies. She made an additional $6-million gift two years later to build Notre Dame’s Hesburgh Center for International Studies, which houses the Kroc Institute and the Helen Kellogg Institute for International Studies.p. In May, Mrs. Kroc announced a $5-million gift to Notre Dame to create the Rev. Theodore M. Hesburgh, C.S.C., International Scholarship Fund for Peace and Justice. The fund will provide scholarships for students in the Kroc Institute’s graduate program.p. In a joint statement, Father Hesburgh, the University’s president emeritus, and R. Scott Appleby, Regan Director of the Kroc Institute, said: ?Mrs. Kroc was single-minded in her dedication to eliminating the threat of nuclear weapons and all forms of deadly violence. The establishment and continuing support of Notre Dame’s Kroc Institute was just one of several important initiatives she fostered in support of human rights, conflict transformation and peace building around the world.p. She will be sorely missed."p. Notre Dame’s president, Rev. Edward A. Malloy, C.S.C., added: “Joan Kroc was one of the major benefactors of the University, even though she had no direct connection to Notre Dame. She got involved because of her great concern for fundamental issues like world peace, and she responded to Father Hesburgh’s dream for an institute that would pursue this goal.”p. Mrs. Kroc met Father Hesburgh in the mid-1980s at an event in San Diego. Hearing of his concerns about the arms race, she committed the funding necessary to establish an institute at Notre Dame dedicated to the study of peace and conflict resolution.p. Mrs. Kroc made contributions for similar initiatives at the University of San Diego and Emory University, and she also supported organizations devoted to ending world hunger and substance abuse and to care for the terminally ill.p. She is survived by a daughter, four granddaughters and four great-grandchildren.p. A private service is planned.