Top US civilian honor going to 21 artists, athletes, others

Obama honors Presidential Medal of Freedom recipients in this photo from the White House on Nov. 20, 2013. Recipients that year included former President Bill Clinton, iconic talk show host Oprah Winfrey and late astronaut Sally Ride.

WASHINGTON (AP) – President Barack Obama is honoring actors Robert DeNiro, Cicely Tyson, Tom Hanks and Robert Redford with the nation’s highest civilian honor.

They are among 21 people Obama plans to recognize with the Presidential Medal of Freedom at the White House on Tuesday, Nov. 22.

The Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian award, recognizes individuals who have provided a distinguished and exceptionally meritorious contribution to society.

Despite being a civilian award, it is not limited to non-military individuals and can also extend to non- U.S. citizens.

This year’s honorees from the sports world include basketball players Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Michael Jordan, along with veteran sports broadcaster Vin Scully.

Entertainers include Ellen DeGeneres, Diana Ross and Bruce Springsteen.

Other honorees are philanthropists Bill and Melinda Gates, polymath physicist Richard Garwin, architect Frank Gehry, designer Maya Lin, “Saturday Night Live” producer Lorne Michaels, attorney Newt Minow, mathematician and computer scientist Margaret H. Hamilton, and Eduardo Padrón, president of Miami Dade College in Florida.

Posthumous honors will go to Native American advocate Elouise Cobell and Rear Adm. Grace Hopper.

President Barack Obama will have awarded 123 Medals after Tuesday.

To read more about this year’s recipients, click here.

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