Former President Bill Clinton and talk-show host Oprah Winfrey are among the 16 people President Barack Obama will honor with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the country's highest civilian honor, according to a White House announcement on Thursday.
Winfrey is being given the honor for her philanthropic work, especially with young women, according to an official cited by the Chicago Tribune. Winfrey and Clinton join 14 others who have made an impact in the fields of journalism, sports, music, science and social activism.
The White House, on Thursday afternoon, released the complete list of recipients, which includes musicians such as Loretta Lynn and Arturo Sandoval, and sports personalities Ernie Banks and Dean Smith.
According to a White House statement, Obama will award the Medal of Freedom posthumously to Sally Ride, the first American female astronaut to travel to space; Bayard Rustin, a social activist; and Daniel Inouye, a public servant.
“The Presidential Medal of Freedom goes to men and women who have dedicated their own lives to enriching ours,” Obama said, in a statement. “This year's honorees have been blessed with extraordinary talent, but what sets them apart is their gift for sharing that talent with the world. It will be my honor to present them with a token of our nation's gratitude."
The Medal of Freedom, which will be awarded later this year, is presented to people who have contributed to the greater good of society. And, this year marks the 50th anniversary since President John F. Kennedy set up the award, which has been given to more than 500 individuals from all walks of life, the White House statement said.
Others who will receive the award are:
Ben Bradlee - one of the most respected newsmen of his generation.
Daniel Kahneman - a pioneering scholar of psychology.
Richard Lugar - a statesman who represented Indiana in the U.S. Senate for more than 30 years.
Mario Molina - a visionary chemist and environmental scientist.
Gloria Steinem - a renowned writer and activist for women’s equality.
Cordy Tindell “C.T.” Vivian - a distinguished minister, author, and organizer.
Patricia Wald - one of the most respected appellate judges of her generation.