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updated: 3/12/2018 5:41 PM

Notre Dame giving Laetare Medal to Texas refugee advocate

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SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- The University of Notre Dame is giving its top award to an advocate for immigrants and refugees in Texas.

The university announced Sunday it will award the Laetare (lay-TAH'-ray) Medal to Sister Norma Pimentel, executive director of Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley in the Diocese of Brownsville. It will be awarded during the university commencement on May 20.

Notre Dame says Pimentel was instrumental in organizing local response to the 2014 surge of Central Americans seeking asylum in the U.S.

Since 1883, Notre Dame has awarded the Laetare Medal annually to American Catholics "whose genius has ennobled the arts and sciences, illustrated the ideals of the church and enriched the heritage of humanity." Previous recipients include President John F. Kennedy, jazz composer Dave Brubeck and actor Martin Sheen.

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