Tom Hanks and Ellen DeGeneres Among Presidential Medal of Freedom Honorees
Tom Hanks, Robert De Niro, Ellen DeGeneres, Bruce Springsteen, Cicely Tyson, Lorne Michaels, Robert Redford, and Diana Ross are those set to be honored from the entertainment field, while sports recipients include Michael Jordan, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and Vin Scully. The group of honorees is rounded out by architect Frank Gehry, designer Maya Lin, philanthropists Bill and Melinda Gates, polymath physicist Richard Garwin, attorney Newt Minow, mathematician and computer scientist Margaret H. Hamilton, and Eduardo Padrón, president of Miami Dade College in Florida. Posthumous awards will be given to Rear Admiral Grace Hopper and Blackfeet Tribal community leader Elouise Cobell.
"The Presidential Medal of Freedom is not just our nation's highest civilian honor—it's a tribute to the idea that all of us, no matter where we come from, have the opportunity to change this country for the better," Obama said in a statement. "From scientists, philanthropists, and public servants to activists, athletes, and artists, these 21 individuals have helped push America forward, inspiring millions of people around the world along the way."
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The award is presented to individuals who have made especially meritorious contributions to the security or national interests of the United States, to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.
The Presidential Medal of Freedom honors will be given out at the White House on November 22.