ProPublica’s A.C. Thompson received Colby College’s Lovejoy Award last night for his reporting on police shootings in New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. In what became the Law and Disorder series, Thompson explored the shootings of 11 civilians -- five of whom died -- by NOPD officers.

Thompson accepted the award and an honorary Colby doctorate in a ceremony last night, saying,“Most of my stories are about awful things happening to decent people,” according to coverage by Maine's Morning Sentinel. “The heroes to me in these narratives are the people who spoke up when it was dangerous for them to do so. Like Elijah Lovejoy, they spoke up even in the face of danger.”

The Lovejoy Award, given every year since 1952, honors the memory of Elijah Parish Lovejoy, a Colby valedictorian and abolitionist newspaper publisher who was killed in Alton, Ill., in 1837 for condemning slavery and defending his right to publish.

You can read a transcript of Thompson's Lovejoy convocation address here.