Actor-activist Martin Sheen will be honored by the University of Notre Dame with its Laetare Medal for his humanitarian work, the school announced Sunday.
Sheen, who played a U.S. president who was a Notre Dame graduate in the TV series "West Wing," is to receive the medal at the school's May 18 commencement.
Since 1883, the Laetare Medal has been awarded annually to a Catholic "whose genius has ennobled the arts and sciences, illustrated the ideals of the church and enriched the heritage of humanity."
Recipients include President John F. Kennedy, former Supreme Court Justice William J. Brennan Jr. and former U.S. House Speaker Thomas P. "Tip" O'Neill Jr.
"He has used that celebrity to draw the attention of his fellow citizens to issues that cry out for redress, such as the plight of immigrant workers and homeless people, the waging of unjust war, the killing of the unborn and capital punishment," Jenkins said.