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Notre Dame to award Laetare Medal to singer Aaron Neville at its commencement ceremony


SOUTH BEND, Indiana — The University of Notre Dame will honor singer Aaron Neville by giving him its top award, the Laetare (lay-TAH-ray) Medal, at commencement.

The Rev. John Jenkins, the university's president, says Neville embraces and honors his faith through his God-given musical talents. The 74-year-old Neville credits successfully surviving trying times of drug addiction and other hardships to God's grace. He dedicates each of his albums to St. Jude, known as the patron saint of hope and impossible causes.

The Laetare Medal, first awarded in 1883, is given annually to a Catholic "whose genius has ennobled the arts and sciences, illustrated the ideals of the church and enriched the heritage of humanity." Past award recipients include former President John Kennedy, Catholic Worker foundress Dorothy Day and jazz composer Dave Brubeck.

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