The Rev. John J. Cavanaugh, 80, who was president of Notre Dame University from 1946 to 1952, died Friday in a home for retired priests in South Bend, Ind. The cause of death was not disclosed.

During his years as president, he worked for higher academic standards, helped provide for a larger student body and pushed advanced study and research projects at the university.

Following his retirement as president, Father Cavanaugh served for another six years as head of fund-raising activities. He also was director of the Notre Dame Foundation, which recruited outstanding educators to Notre Dame's faculty.

He was a friend to the Kennedy family, and said a requiem mass for John F. Kennedy in the White House the day after his assassination. Father Cavanaugh also celebrated mass for the slain president's father, Joseph P. Kennedy Sr., six years later in Hyannis Port, Mass.

Father Cavanaugh was born in Owosso, Mich., and earned bachelor's and master's degrees at Notre Dame. He also was a graduate of the Gregorian University in Rome.

He joined the Notre Dame administration in 1931, was the university's perfect of religion from 1933 to 1938, then served as vice president from 1940 until becoming president.

Father Cavanaugh is survived by a brother, Frank, who also is a retired priest and lives on the campus at Notre Dame.