Notre Dame, Ind. — Norman Francis, who served as president of Xavier University of Louisiana for 47 years and has been a prominent voice in the civil rights movement for decades, will receive the University of Notre Dame’s 2018 Laetare Medal at the school’s graduation ceremony May 19.

“For more than 50 years, Dr. Francis has been at the center of civil rights advocacy by leveraging the power of Catholic higher education,” Holy Cross Fr. John Jenkins, Notre Dame president, said in announcing the award March 31.

“In bestowing the Laetare Medal upon him, Notre Dame recognizes his leadership in the fight for social justice through educational empowerment,” Jenkins added.

The Laetare Medal is so named because its recipient is announced each year on

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