Barack Obama awards Presidential Medals of Freedom

The Presidential Medal of Freedom is an award bestowed by the President of the United States. It was established in 1963 by President John Kennedy.

Nov 23, 2016 13:22 IST
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US President Barack Obama on 22 November 2016 presented the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honour, to 21 artists, sports figures, scientists and philanthropists.

Among the honourees were Robert Redford, Bill and Melinda Gates, Tom Hanks and Diana Ross.

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Completes list of awardees



Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

He is an American retired professional basketball player who played 20 seasons in the National Basketball Association for the Milwaukee Bucks and Los Angeles Lakers.

Elouise Cobell (posthumous)

She was a Blackfeet Tribal community leader and an advocate for Native American self-determination and financial independence.

Ellen DeGeneres

She is an award-winning comedian who has been hosting her popular daytime talk show, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, since 2003.

Robert De Niro

He is an American actor and producer who has both Italian and American citizenship.

Richard Garwin

He is an American physicist, widely known to be the author of the first hydrogen bomb design.

Bill and Melinda Gates

Bill and Melinda Gates established the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in 2000 to help all people lead healthy, productive lives.

Frank Gehry

He is a Canadian-born American architect.

Margaret H. Hamilton

She is a computer scientist, systems engineer and business owner.

Tom Hanks

He is an American actor, comedian and filmmaker.

Grace Hopper (posthumous)

She was an American computer scientist and United States Navy Rear Admiral.

Michael Jordan

He is an American retired professional basketball player.

Maya Lin

She is an artist and designer who is known for her work in sculpture and landscape art.

Lorne Michaels

He is a producer and screenwriter, best known for creating and producing Saturday Night Live.

Newt Minow

He is an attorney with a long and distinguished career in public life.

Eduardo Padrón

He is the President of Miami Dade College (MDC), one of the largest institutions of higher education in the United States.

Robert Redford

He is an actor, director, producer, businessman, and environmentalist.

Diana Ross

She is an American singer, songwriter, actress and record producer.

Vin Scully

He is an American sportscaster.

Bruce Springsteen

He is a singer, songwriter, and bandleader.

Cicely Tyson

She is an American actress. She was nominated for the Academy and Golden Globe Awards for Best Actress for her performance as Rebecca Morgan in Sounder.

About Presidential Medal of Freedom

The Presidential Medal of Freedom is an award bestowed by the President of the United States.

It was established in 1963 by President John Kennedy.

It the highest civilian award of the United States.

The award is not limited to U.S. citizens. Although it is a civilian award, it can also be awarded to military personnel and worn on the uniform.

Three people, Ellsworth Bunker, John Kenneth Galbraith and Colin Powell, are two-time recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom.


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