Notre Dame names Laetare Medal recipient
Observer Staff Report | Monday, March 16, 2015
The University will award Grammy-winning singer Aaron Neville the Laetare Medal at its 2015 Commencement, Director of Media Relations Sue Lister announced Sunday.
The Laetare Medal is the oldest award given to American Catholics, having originated in 1883, according to the press release. The University awards the medal each year to a Catholic “whose genius has ennobled the arts and sciences, illustrated the ideals of the Church and enriched the heritage of humanity.”
University President Fr. John Jenkins described Neville as a man who uses his own strengths to express his faith.
“Aaron Neville proudly embraces and honors his faith through his God-given musical talents,” Jenkins said in the press release. “Through tumultuous times in his life, Aaron turned to God, the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Jude for strength, forgiveness and salvation.
“His example of repentance and devotion shine bright for all who see him perform.”
In his prolific career as a musician, Neville released four albums that achieved platinum status, created four top 20 hits in the United States, won the 1989 Grammy Award for Best Pop Instrumental Performance and Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals and was named a 2015 Grammy Hall of Fame Recording Inductee.
The 74-year-old attended Catholic school in New Orleans as a child and dedicated each of his albums to the apostle St. Jude, patron saint of hope and impossible causes, the press release stated.
In winning the Laetare Medal, Neville joins the ranks of other American Catholics including President John F. Kennedy, Dorothy Day, Walker Percy, Martin Sheen and many others.
The University’s 170th Commencement Ceremony will be held May 17 in Notre Dame Stadium.