The University of Notre Dame Center for Ethics and Culture will award the 2018 Notre Dame Evangelium Vitae Medal to former U.S. ambassador and current Harvard professor of law Mary Ann Glendon at a Mass and banquet on April 28, 2018.

The Notre Dame Evangelium Vitae Medal, named for St. John Paul II's 1995 encyclical on life issues, is the nation’s most important lifetime achievement award for heroes of the pro-life movement, honoring individuals whose efforts have served to proclaim the Gospel of human life by steadfastly affirming and defending its sanctity from its earliest stages.

Rev. William M. Lies, C.S.C., vice president for mission engagement and Church affairs, says the Evangelium Vitae Medal is a wonderful expression of our vocation to build a culture of life.

Glendon is the Learned Hand Professor of Law at Harvard Law School and the former U.S. ambassador to the Holy See. She is a commissioner of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom and a member of the Board of Supervisors for the Vatican’s Institute of Religious Works. Glendon served two terms on the U.S. President's Council on Bioethics and is a former president of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences. She has represented the Holy See at various conferences, including the 1995 United Nations women's conference in Beijing where she led a Vatican delegation that advocated for the dignity of women and children in the face of international pressure to expand abortion access.

As a scholar, Glendon is widely published in family law, legal ethics, human rights, constitutional law, international comparative law and civil rights. Her book “Abortion and Divorce in Western Law” won the Scribes Book Award for best writing on a legal subject, followed by “The Transformation of Family Law” (1989), winner of the legal academy’s highest honor, the Order of the Coif Triennial Book Award. The New York Times reviewer described Glendon’s “A World Made New: Eleanor Roosevelt and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights” (2001) as the definitive study of the framing of the UDHR. Her most recent book is a series of biographical essays exploring the relation between political philosophy and politics-in-action, “The Forum and the Tower: How Scholars and Politicians Have Imagined the World, from Plato to Eleanor Roosevelt” (2011).

The 2017 medal was presented to the Jerome Lejeune Foundation. Previous recipients include Richard Doerflinger, associate director of the USCCB’s Secretariat for Pro-Life Activities; Helen M. Alvaré, professor of law at George Mason University; Mother Agnes Mary Donovan and the Sisters of Life; Congressman Chris Smith, co-chair of the Bipartisan Congressional Pro-Life Caucus, and his wife, Marie Smith, director of the Parliamentary Network for Critical Issues; Supreme Knight Carl Anderson and the Knights of Columbus; and the Little Sisters of the Poor.