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Irish eyes smile on McDonnell

Gov. Bob McDonnell received one of the highest awards given by the University of Notre Dame last week.

The Notre Dame Alumni Association presented the governor with the 2012 Rev. John J. Cavanaugh, C.S.C., Award. McDonnell graduated from the school in 1976.

Established in 1985, the Cavanaugh Award is conferred on an alumnus/alumna (living or deceased) who is performing or has performed outstanding service in the field of government, patriotism, public service, local, state or national politics.

Past recipients have included former Arizona governor and Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt ’60, Gov. John Gilligan of Ohio ’43 and U.S. Rep. Dan Lungren, R-Calif., ’68.

McDonnell, who practiced law in Virginia Beach before his election as Attorney General and then governor, is the second Cavanaugh recipient to hail from Hampton Roads.

In 2002, the Cavanaugh Award went to the late Philip L. Russo, who served as a Norfolk circuit judge from 1970 to 1992. Judge Russo earned his law degree from Notre Dame in 1949. He died in 2006.

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