President Obama on Thursday named 16 individuals who will receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom at a White House ceremony later this year. They include former president Bill Clinton, media personality Oprah Winfrey, former Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee, singer Loretta Lynn, and baseball Hall-of-Famer Ernie Banks of the Chicago Cubs.
Others named to the list are Princeton professor Daniel Kahneman, who received the 2002 Nobel Prize in economics; former Indiana senator Richard Lugar; chemist and environmental scientist Mario Molina; jazz artist and composer Arturo Sandoval; former University of North Carolina basketball coach Dean Smith; feminist and Ms. magazine cofounder Gloria Steinem; Cordy Tindell “C.T.” Vivian, a minister and civil rights leader; and former US appellate court judge Patricia Wald.
The list also includes three individuals being honored posthumously: senator Daniel Inouye of Hawaii, who received the Medal of Honor for his service in World War II and who was the first Japanese American to be elected to Congress; astronaut Sally Ride, the first American woman to travel to space; and Bayard Rustin, an adviser to Reverend Martin Luther King Jr., who organized the 1963 March on Washington.
According to the White House, this is the 50th anniversary of the medal being established by President John F. Kennedy. In that time, more than 500 individuals have been honored.