The Knights of Columbus and Supreme Knight Carl Anderson have been named the recipients of a University of Notre Dame institute’s 2015 Evangelium Vitae medal in recognition of their pro-life efforts. “Since its inception, the Knights of Columbus has protected and supported the most vulnerable among us,” Carter Snead, director of the Notre Dame Center for Ethics and Culture, said Oct. 5. “Supreme Knight Carl Anderson and the Knights of Columbus richly deserve to be recognized as heroic contributors to the pro-life cause; they embody the spirit of the Notre Dame Evangelium Vitae Medal,” Snead said in an announcement from the ethics center. “They have tirelessly volunteered, educated, advocated, donated, and prayed on behalf of every human life from conception to natural death.” Since 2011, the Evangelium Vitae Medal has been awarded annually by the University of Notre Dame’s Center for Ethics and Culture to those who have worked to help build a culture of life and respect for the sanctity of life from its earliest stages. The medal was inspired by St. John Paul II's 1995 papal encyclical “Evangelium Vitae.” The Knights of Columbus, a Catholic fraternal order, was founded in New Haven, Conn., in 1882 by Venerable Michael J. McGivney, a parish priest. It has 1.8 million members worldwide who perform volunteer service and advance the order’s key principles of charity, unity, fraternity and patriotism. The organization has contributed $1.4 billion to charity in the last 14 years and its members have performed 664 million hours of community service. It has donated more than 268 ultrasound machines worth an estimated $14 million to pregnancy resource centers in 44 U.S. states and in Canada.     Anderson has headed the Knights of Columbus for 14 years. Snead said Knights of Columbus members have been “at the forefront of the struggle to promote a culture of life through their work at the local, national, and international levels.” The award is announced on the first Sunday of October, Respect Life Sunday. It consists of a specially commissioned medal and a $10,000 prize. It will be presented at a spring banquet on April 26 of next year. Previous recipients of the prize have included the Sisters of Life, George Mason University law professor Helen M. Alvaré, U.S. Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.) and the U.S. bishops’ conference pro-life activities official, Richard Doerflinger.