NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A retired special education teacher turned environmental justice advocate will receive what the University of Notre Dame describes as the oldest and most prestigious honor for American Catholics.

The university will present its Laetare Medal to Rise St. James founder Sharon Lavigne on May 15, during commencement ceremonies in South Bend, Indiana. Lavigne created Rise St. James in 2018 when Formosa Plastics got permits for a $9.4 billion complex in St. James Parish.

Notre Dame President John Jenkins says the university is recognizing her leadership and courage as an environmental champion, a voice for the marginalized and a steadfast servant of God.