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 Home > News & Policies > June 2002

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
June 20, 2002

President Bush Announced the Recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom

**updated June 21, 2002**

President George W. Bush today announced the recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom. The Presidential Medal of Freedom is the Nation's highest civilian honor. It was established by President Truman in 1945 to recognize civilians for their service during World War II, and it was reinstated by President Kennedy in 1963 to honor distinguished service. President Bush will award the Medals of Freedom to the recipients at a ceremony in July.

Hank Aaron is one of the most accomplished players in the history of baseball. Aaron holds the career records for home runs, 755 in his 23-year career, runs-batted-in and total bases. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1982. Mr. Aaron played first on a professional Negro League team, and was then recruited by the Milwaukee Braves and sent to a minor league team in Jacksonville, Florida, where he was one of the first black players to break the color line in the deep South. Mr. Aaron was undeterred in his pursuit of excellence by frequent encounters with racism throughout his career.

Bill Cosby became one of the most popular television performers of the 1980's with the success of The Cosby Show, which revolutionized the portrayal of African Americans on television. Throughout his career, Dr. Cosby has appealed to the common humanity of his audience, rather than the differences that might divide it. Dr. Cosby's career has included stand up comedy, the adventure show, I Spy, situation comedies and children's programming that highlighted his interest and dedication to education.

Placido Domingo has become a world renowned opera singer, conductor and arts administrator over his 44-year career. He was blessed with an unusually flexible voice, which has allowed him to perform in 118 different roles, more than any other tenor in the annals of opera performance. As a conductor, he has led opera performances at such opera houses as the Metropolitan and the Weiner Staatsoper, and he has conducted such orchestras as the Chicago and London Symphonies. Mr. Domingo presently serves as the Artistic Director of the Washington Opera and the Los Angeles Opera.

Dr. Peter Drucker is the world’s foremost pioneer of management theory. Dr. Drucker has championed concepts such as privatization, management by objective and decentralization. He has served as a consultant to numerous governments, public service institutions and major corporations. Dr. Drucker is a Professor of Social Sciences and Management at the Claremont Graduate University in Claremont, California, which named its Graduate School of Management after him. He helped establish and continues to serve as the Honorary Chairman of the Peter F. Drucker Foundation for Nonprofit Management in New York City, which awards the Peter F. Drucker Award for Nonprofit Innovation. He is currently applying his expertise to the management of churches and other faith-based institutions and to the reorganization of universities worldwide.

Katharine Graham led the Washington Post to its place as one of the Nation's leading daily newspapers and was known as an editor who maintained excellence by supporting her reporters and encouraging those who worked for her. Her tenure at the helm of the Post was marked by aggressive pursuit of stories like the publication of the "Pentagon Papers" and the burglary at the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate complex. Graham continued as Chairwoman of the Post until 1993.

Dr. D.A. Henderson is best known for his leadership of the World Health Organization's global smallpox eradication campaign from 1966 to 1977. He was also instrumental in initiating the WHO's global program of immunization which now vaccinates approximately 80 percent of the world's children against six major diseases. Dr. Henderson's government service includes time at the Office of Science and Technology Policy and the Department of Health the Human Services in the early 1990's. In 1986, he was awarded the National Medal of Science. Dr. Henderson is currently the director of the recently established Johns Hopkins Center for Civilian Biodefense Studies.

Irving Kristol is an author, editor and professor who is one of the leading intellectuals of his time. Mr. Kristol's writings helped lay the intellectual groundwork for the renaissance of conservative ideas in the last half of the 20th Century. His approach adapted traditional conservative thought with contemporary societal issues and became the framework for compassionate conservatism. Mr. Kristol was the Henry R. Luce Professor of Urban Values at New York University and the John M. Olin Professor of Social Thought at the New York University Graduate School of Business Administration.

Nelson Mandela led the fight to end apartheid in South Africa over the course of his 57-year public life. Mr. Mandela was imprisoned by the South African government in 1962 and was released on February 11, 1990. After his release, Mr. Mandela was elected President of the African National Congress in 1991 and awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993. He was inaugurated as the first democratically elected State President of South Africa on May 10, 1994 and served until he retired from public life in 1999.

Gordon Moore is the co-founder of the Intel Corporation and directed the company's growth as the most successful developer of the microchip. Dr. Moore received the National Medal of Technology in 1990. After retiring from Intel in 1995, Dr. Moore and his wife Betty became increasingly involved in philanthropic activities. In November 2000, they established the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation with a multibillion-dollar contribution. The Foundation funds projects in four major program areas: higher education; scientific research; the environment; and San Francisco Bay Area projects.

Nancy Reagan became First Lady of the United States in 1980 when her husband Ronald Reagan was elected the 40th President. As First Lady, Mrs. Reagan traveled extensively as a spokeswoman for the "Just Say No" Foundation and its philosophy. After leaving the White House, she has continued her work against drug and alcohol abuse through the Nancy Reagan Foundation. She has also worked to promote the Foster Grandparent program, and co-authored the book To Love a Child to raise funds for the program.

Fred Rogers hosted Mister Rogers' Neighborhood for over three decades, making the show the longest running program in the history of public broadcasting. All of his work has been emblematic of the same philosophy and goal: to encourage the healthy emotional growth of children and their families. Mr. Rogers is an ordained Presbyterian minister and the recipient of numerous awards over his career including induction into the Television Hall of Fame in 1999.

A.M. Rosenthal has been a reporter, correspondent, editor and columnist for the New York Times since the early 1940's. His work has sought to highlight the suffering of oppressed peoples, especially religious minorities. His newspaper career has taken him around the world. In 1960, Rosenthal was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for his reporting from Poland. He returned to New York to become an editor in 1963, and he went on to oversee daily news operations of the Times for close to 16 years and Sunday operations for close to 10 years.