Helen M. Alvaré, associate professor of law George Mason University, will receive the 2012 Notre Dame Evangelium Vitae Medal.
“Helen Alvaré has courageously and powerfully defended the cause of life against all comers for two decades,” said David Solomon, chair of the fund’s governing committee and William P. and Hazel B. White Director of the Center for Ethics and Culture. “In some of the darkest hours for the pro-life cause in this country, her voice was heard clearly. With a public presence in the popular debate, a foot in the scholarly world that bolsters and sustains the deep arguments on life issues, and her extraordinary ability to connect with people, she has been a hero to us all. We are honored to award her the Notre Dame Evangelium Vitae Medal.”
The Notre Dame Evangelium Vitae Medal, which is announced annually on Respect Life Sunday, the first Sunday of October, consists of a specially commissioned medal and $10,000 prize, to be presented at a spring banquet which will be held this year on April 25. Richard Doerflinger, associate director of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Secretariat for Pro Life Activities, was the medal’s 2011 recipient.
Alvaré earned her law degree from Cornell University in 1984 and a master’s degree in systematic theology from The Catholic University of America in 1989. She has practiced with the Philadelphia law firm of Stradley, Ronon, Stevens & Young, specializing in commercial litigation and free exercise of religion matters. Before joining George Mason’s law school faculty, she taught at Catholic University’s Columbus School of Law.
In 1987, Alvaré joined the Office of General Counsel for the National Conference of Catholic Bishops (NCCB), drafting amicus briefs in leading U.S. Supreme Court cases concerning abortion, euthanasia and the First Amendment’s establishment clause. For the next ten years, she worked with the Secretariat for Pro-Life Activities at the NCCB, lobbying, testifying before federal congressional committees, lecturing nationwide, and speaking on numerous television and radio programs for the U.S. Catholic bishops. She also assisted the Holy See on matters concerning women, marriage and the family, and respect for human life.
Alvaré chaired the commission investigating clerical abuse in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and is an advisor to Pope Benedict XVI’s Pontifical Council for the Laity, as well as an ABC News consultant. Her scholarship concerns current controversies about abortion’s impact on women, marriage, parenting and the new reproductive technologies.
The Notre Dame Fund to Protect Human Life is an expendable fund at the University of Notre Dame dedicated to educating Notre Dame students regarding the dignity of human life, specifically at its beginning stages, and to encouraging relevant understanding, support and involvement among the entire Notre Dame community on beginning of life issues. The Fund is administered by a five-member committee whose members are Solomon; Elizabeth Kirk, research fellow at the Center for Ethics and Culture; Rev. Wilson Miscamble, C.S.C., professor of history; O. Carter Snead, associate professor of law, and Daniel Philpott, associate professor of political science and peace studies.
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