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“Through his willingness to engage with those who disagree with him and encourage people of faith to bring their beliefs to the public debate, he is inspiring this nation to heal its divisions of religion, culture, race and politics in the audacious hope for a brighter tomorrow,” the citation said.

Of the other seven honorary degree recipients, only one received a standing ovation. Cindy Parseghian, daughter-in-law of legendary Notre Dame football coach Ara Parseghian, runs a foundation to find a cure for a rare, fatal genetic disorder that has claimed the lives of three of her four children.