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ND Quick Facts > Laetare Medal Recipients

Information compiled from a 1974 list maintained by the former Department of Information Services. University Archivists have added to the list since then through Notre Dame Report, press releases and commencement programs.


Laetare Medalist
1883 John Gilmary Shea Historian
1884 Patrick Charles Keeley Architect
1885 Eliza Allen Starr Art Critic
1886 General John Newton Engineer
1887 Edward Preuss Publicist
1888 Patrick V. Hickey Founder and Editor of the Catholic Review
1889 Anna Hansen Dorsey Novelist
1890 William J. Onahan Organizer of the American Catholic Congress
1891 Daniel Dougherty Orator
1892 Henry F. Brownson Philosopher and Author
1893 Patrick Donohue Founder of the Boston Pilot
1894 Augustine Daly Theatrical Producer
1895 Mary Anne Sadlier Novelist
1896 General William Starke Rosecrans Soldier
1897 Thomas Addis Emmet Physician
1898 Timothy Edward Howard Jurist
1899 Mary Gwendolin Caldwell Philanthropist
1900 John A. Creighton Philanthropist
1901 William Bourke Cockran Orator
1902 John Benjamin Murphy Surgeon
1903 Charles Jerome Bonaparte Lawyer
1904 Richard C. Kerens Diplomat
1905 Thomas B. Fitzpatrick Philanthropist
1906 Francis J. Quinlan Physician
1907 Katherine Eleanor Conway Journalist and Author
1908 James C. Monaghan Economist
1909 Frances Tieran (Christian Reid) Novelist
1910 Maurice Francis Egan Author and Diplomat
1911 Agnes Replier Author
1912 Thomas M. Mulry Philanthropist
1913 Charles B. Herberman Editor of the Catholic Encyclopedia
1914 Edward Douglas White Jurist and Chief Justice of the United States
1915 Mary V. Merrick Philanthropist
1916 James Joseph Walsh Physician and Author
1917 William Sheperd Benson Admiral and Chief of Naval Operations
1918 Joseph Scott Lawyer
1919 George L. Duval Philanthropist
1920 Lawrence Francis Flick Physician
1921 Elizabeth Nourse Artist
1922 Charles Patrick Neill Economist
1923 Walter George Smith Lawyer
1924 Charles D. Maginnis Architect
1925 Albert Francis Zahm Scientist
1926 Edward Nash Hurley Businessman
1927 Margaret Anglin Actress
1928 John Johnson Spaulding Lawyer
1929 Alfred Emmanuel Smith Statesman
1930 Frederick Philip Kenkel Publicist
1931 James J. Phelan Businessman
1932 Stephen J. Maher Physician
1933 John McCormack Artist
1934 Genevieve Garvan Brady Philanthropist
1935 Francis Hamilton Spearman Novelist
1936 Richard Reid Journalist and Lawyer
1937 Jeremiah Denis M. Ford Scholar
1938 Irvin William Abell Surgeon
1939 Josephine Van Dyke Brownson Catechist
1940 General Hugh Aloysius Drum Soldier
1941 William Thomas Walsh Journalist and Author
1942 Helen Constance White Author and Teacher
1943 Thomas Francis Woodlock Editor
1944 Anne O'Hare McCormick Journalist
1945 Gardiner Howland Shaw Diplomat
1946 Carlton J.H. Hayes Historian and Diplomat
1947 William G. Bruce Publisher and Civic Leader
1948 Frank C. Walker Postmaster General and Civic Leader
1949 Irene Dunne Griffin Actress
1950 General Joseph L. Collins Soldier
1951 John Henry Phelan Philanthropist
1952 Thomas E. Murray Member of the US Atomic Energy Commission
1953 I.A. O'Shaughnessy Philanthropist
1954 Jefferson Caffery Diplomat
1955 George Meany Labor Leader
1956 General Alfred M. Gruenther Soldier
1957 Clare Boothe Luce Diplomat
1958 Frank M. Folsom Industrialist
1959 Robert D. Murphy Diplomat
1960 George N. Shuster Educator
1961 John F. Kennedy (JFK) President of the United States
1962 Francis J. Braceland, MD Psychiatrist
1963 Admiral George W. Anderson Jr. Chief of Naval Operations
1964 Pylllis McGinley Poet
1965 Frederick D. Rossini Scientist
1966 Patrick F. and Patricia Caron Crowley Founders of The Christian Movement
1967 J. Peter Grace Industrialist
1968 Robert Sargent Shriver Diplomat
1969 William J. Brennan Jr. Jurist and Associate Justice of the Supreme Court
1970 Dr. William B. Walsh Physician
1971 Walter Kerr & Jean Kerr Drama Critic & Author
1972 Dorothy Day Founder of the Catholic Worker Movement, Journalist and Author
1973 Rev. John A. O'Brien Author and educator
1974 James A. Farley Business Executive and Former Post Master General
1975 Sr. Ann Ida Gannon, BMV President of Mundelein College
1976 Paul Horgan Author
1977 Mike Mansfield Former Senate Majority Leader
1978 Msgr. John Tracy Ellis Author and educator
1979 Helen Hayes Actress
1980 Thomas P. (Tip) O'Neill Jr. Congressman (Speaker of the House)
1981 Edmund Sixtus Muskie Secretary of State
1982 Cardinal John Francis Dearden Retired Archbishop of Detroit
1983 Edmund & Evelyn Stephan Chairman Emeritus of the University of Notre Dame's Board of Trustees and wife
1984 John Thomas Noonan Jr. Legal scholar
1985 Guido Calabresi Dean of Yale University Law School
1986 Thomas & Mary Elizabeth Carney Chairman of the University of Notre Dame's Board of Trustees and wife
1987 Theodore Hesburgh President of the University of Notre Dame
1988 Eunice Kennedy Shriver Special Olympics Chairwoman
1989 Walker Percy Novelist
1990 Sister Thea Bowman (posthumously) Gospel singer and evangelist
1991 Corrine Lindy Boggs Former Louisiana Congresswoman
1992 Daniel Patrick Moynihan Senator from New York
1993 Donald R. Keough Chairman Emeritus of the Board of Trustees
1994 Sidney Callahan Professor of Psychology at Mercy College and Columnist for "Commonweal" Magazine
1995 Cardinal Joseph Bernardin Archbishop of Chicago
1996 Sister Helen Prejean Death Penalty Abolitionist
1997 Rev. Virgil Elizando US & Mexico Minister to the Poor
1998 Dr. Edmund Pellegrino  Georgetown Medicine & Medical Ethics Professor
1999 Philip Gleason Professor Emeritus of History at Notre Dame
2000 Andrew McKenna Board of Trustees Chairman
2001 Msgr. George G. Higgins Scholar and activist
2002 Father John Smyth  Executive Director of Maryville Academy in Des Plaines, Illinois
2003 Peter and Margaret O'Brien Steinfels Editors of Commonweal
2004 Father J. Bryan Hehir President of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Boston
2005 Dr. Joseph E. Murray Surgeon
2006 Dave Brubeck Jazz pianist
2007 Patrick McCartan ND Board of Trustees Chairman
2008 Martin Sheen Actor
Mary Ann Glendon declined the Laetare medal in protest of President Barack Obama as Commencement speaker and honorary degree recipient. The medal was not awarded this year. Judge John T. Noonan Jr., the 1984 recipient of the Laetare Medal, accepted an invitation to deliver an address in the spirit of the award at Notre Dame’s 164th University Commencement Ceremony on May 17, 2009. His speech was in lieu of awarding the medal this year.
2010 Dana Gioia Poet and former Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts
2011 Sister Mary Scullion, R.S.M., and Joan McConnon Co-founders of Project H.O.M.E.
2012 Ken Hackett Former president of Catholic Relief Servies (CRS)
2013 Sister Susanne Gallagher, S.P.; Sister Mary Therese Harrington, S.H.; and Rev. James H. McCarthy Founders of the Special Religious Education Development Network (SPRED)
2014 Kenneth R. Miller Professor of biology at Brown University
2015 Aaron Neville Musician
2016 Joe Biden and John Boehner Statesmen
2017 Rev. Gregory J. Boyle, S.J. Founder and executive director of Homeboy Industries
2018 Sister Norma Pimentel, M.J. Executive director of Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley
2019 Norman Francis President Emeritus of Xavier University
2020 Kathleen McChesney Law enforcement trailblazer and victim advocate
2021 Carla Harris Vice chairman of wealth management and senior client adviser at Morgan Stanley
2022 Sharon Lavigne Founder and director of Rise St. James