Obama Gives Celebrities Presidential Medal Of Freedom; Ellen DeGeneres, Tom Hanks Honored; Complete A-List Recipients Here

By Roy Narra - 17 Nov '16 05:10AM

Celebrities Tom Hanks, Robert DeNiro, Diana Ross and others will be honored by President Barack Obama with the highest civilian honor in the country, the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Obama said the Presidential Medal of Freedom is a tribute to the idea that every American, no matter where they came from, has the opportunity to chance and influence the country for the better.

The 21 honorees for this year are composed of scientists, philanthropists, activists, athletes, and artists that have helped America to push forward and inspired millions of people around the world with their contribution.

The list includes A-list stars in music, film, television, and theater like actors Hanks, DeNiro, Robert Redford, and Cicely Tyson. Talk-show host Ellen DeGeneres, "Saturday Night Live" producer Lorne Michaels, and music icons Bruce Springsteen and Ross are also recipients.

Basketball players Kareem Adbul-Jabbar, Michael Jordan, and veteran sports broadcaster Vin Scully are also honorees for their contribution in sports. Scully was known as the voice of Brooklyn and Los Angeles Dodgers baseball teams for 67 years.

Abdul-Jabbar's contribution was not only limited to sports but also to his passionate advocacy on social justice.

Philanthropists and billionaires Bill and Melinda Gates will also be recognized for their works with the Gates Foundation that focuses on combatting extreme poverty and improving global health.

Architect Frank Gehry and artist Maya Lin are recipients for arts and design. Lin designed the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington.

Newt Minow, lawyer and former Federal Communications Committee chief, and Eduardo Padron, Miami Dade College President, will also be honored for education.

For science, physicist Richard Garwin and mathematician Margaret Hamilton will also get recognition from Obama. Hamilton led the team that created on-board flight software for NASA's Apollo missions.

Posthumous recognition will be given to Elouise Cobell, a Blackfeet Tribal community leader who advocates for Native American self-determination and financial independence. "First Lady of Software" Grace Hopper, known for her coding innovations, will also get a posthumous recognition.

The recognition will be given at the White House on November 22.

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