Stars Among Presidential Medal of Freedom Recipients

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U.S. President Barack Obama delivers remarks at a dinner last year in honor of the Medal of Freedom awardees. This year's list of awardees was released Wednesday, Nov. 16. Michael Jordan, Bill and Melinda Gates, Tom Hanks, Ellen DeGeneres, Bruce Springsteen and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar are just a few off the star-studded list of honorees who will receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the country's highest civilian honor. The awards will be presented at the White House on Nov. 22. The event will be streamed at www.whitehouse.gov/live/. (Photo by Kevin-Dietsch-Pool/Getty Images)
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Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is not only just being honored for his legendary basketball career but also for his work as an "outspoken advocate for social justice." He writes and contributes as a columnist for The Washington Post and Time Magazine. According to his website, Abdul-Jabbar currently serves as the chairman of his Skyhook Foundation, a organization that brings educational STEM opportunities to under-served communities through outdoor environmental learning. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
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Elouise Cobell (L) will be posthumously awarded the Medal of Freedom. She was a Blackfeet Tribal community leader and an advocate for Native American rights. She restored tribal homelands to the Blackfeet Nation and many other tribes by using her accounting expertise. Cobell helped found the Native American Bank and inspired other Native American women to seek leadership roles in their communities. She died on Oct. 16, 2011 from cancer. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
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Ellen DeGeneres is an award-winning comedian who has hosted her popular daytime talk show, "The Ellen DeGeneres Show", since 2003. She was the voice of Dory in "Finding Nemo," and she hosted the Academy Awards twice. DeGeneres made TV history when she came out to the public as gay in 1997. Throughout her career and her life, she has been an advocate for equality and fairness. (Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images)
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Robert De Niro's film career and credits span over five decades. De Niro's first major film roles were in the sports drama "Bang the Drum Slowly" and Martin Scoreses's film "Mean Streets." He is a seven-time Academy Award nominee and two-time Oscar winner. He's also a Kennedy Center honoree. (Photo by Ben Gabbe/Getty Images)
A.T. Service - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=15488357
Richard Garwin is a physicist who earned a Ph.D at the of age 21. He made significant contributions to U.S. defense and intelligence technologies, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), computer systems, nuclear arms control and so many other fields. He directed Applied Research at IBM's Thomas J. Watson Research and taught at universities like University of Chicago and Harvard University. He is the author of 500 technical papers and a winner of the National Medal of Science. Garwin holds 47 U.S. patents. (Photo credit to A.T. Service, CC BY-SA 3.0)
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Bill and Melinda Gates established the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in 2000 to help all people lead healthy, productive lives. In developing countries, the foundation focuses on improving health and economic situations of people. In the United States, the foundation tries to ensure that everyone has access to opportunities to succeed in school and in life. The Gates Foundation has provided more than $36 billion in grants since 2000. (Photo by Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images)
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Frank Gehry is one of the world's leading architects. His work has help define contemporary architecture. His best-known work include the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, the Dancing House in Prague and the Guggenheim Museum building in Bilbao, Spain. (Photo by Jerod Harris/Getty Images)
Draper Laboratory (L) & Daphne Weld Nichols (R)
Margaret H. Hamilton, a mathematician and computer scientist, led the team that created the on-board flight software for NASA's Apollo command modules and lunar modules. She started her own software company and has since co-created the concepts of asynchronous software, priority scheduling and other technologies, which have set the foundation for modern and reliable software design and engineering. (Photo by Draper Laboratory (L) & Daphne Weld Nichols (R))
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Tom Hanks is a renowned actor and filmmaker. He has been nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor in Leading Role five times and received the award for his work in "Philadelphia" and "Forrest Gump." His other roles in movies include "Apollo 13," "Saving Private Ryan" and "Cast Away." Hanks is also an advocate for social and environmental justice and for veterans and their families. (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)
United States Navy
Rear Admiral Grace Hopper, also known as "Amazing Grace" and "the first lady of software," will be posthumously awarded for her work in computers and programming development. She was at the forefront from the 1940s to 1980s. Hopper's work helped make coding languages more practical and accessible, and she created the first compiler, which translates source code from one language into another. She taught math at Vassar College before joining the United States Naval Reserve as a lieutenant during World War II, where she became one of the first programmers of the Harvard Mark I computer. She died on Jan. 1, 1992, at the age of 85. (Photo released by the United States Navy)
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Michael Jordan is known as one of the greatest athletes of all time. He played 15 seasons in the NBA with the Chicago Bulls and Washington Wizards. He is currently owner and chairman of the Charlotte Hornets. During his career, he won six championships, five Most Valuable Player awards and appeared in 14 All-Star games. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
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Maya Lin is an artist and designer who is known for her work in sculpture and landscape art. She designed the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. She is a committed environmentalist and is currently working on a multi-sited artwork/memorial that will "bring awareness to the planet's loss of habitat and biodiversity." (Photo by Brian Ach/Getty Images)
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Lorne Michaels is a producer and screenwriter, best known for creating and producing "Saturday Night Live," which has run for more than 40 years. He also produced "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon," "Late Night with Seth Meyers" and "30 Rock," among other award-winning shows. He has won 13 Emmy Awards over the course of his career. (Photo by Getty Images)
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Newton Minow served as a Supreme Court clerk and counsel to the governor of Illinois after serving in the U.S. Army during World War II. Minow is an attorney with a long and distinguished life in public life. In 1961, President Kennedy selected Minow, then 34, to serve as Chairman of the Federal Communications Committee (FCC), where he helped shape the future of American television. He was an advocate for broadcasting that promoted the public interest. After leaving the FCC after five decades, Minow has devoted his time to public and charitable causes as well as maintaining his own private law practice. (Photo credit to Newton Minow, license: CC-BY-SA-3.0)
U.S. Department of State
Eduardo Padrón is the president of Miami Dade College (MDC), one of the largest institutions for higher education. His career spans over four decades, and he has been a national voice for access and inclusion. He has worked to ensure all students have access to high quality, affordable education. (Photo credit to U.S. Department of State)
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Robert Redford wears many hats: actor, director, producer, businessman and environmentalist. He founded the Sundance Institute in 1981 to advance the work of independent filmmakers and storytellers throughout the world. He has received an Academy Award for Best Director and Lifetime Achievement. Redford has directed or starred in numerous motion pictures, including "The Candidate," "All the President's Men" and "Quiz Show." (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)
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Diana Ross has been in the entertainment industry for over 50 years . Ross is an Academy Award nominee, inductee into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and recipient of the Grammy Awards highest honor, the Lifetime Achievement Award. Ross was also the recipient of the 2007 Kennedy Center Honors. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
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Vin Scully was the voice of the Brooklyn and Los Angeles Dodgers for 67 seasons. In southern California, his voice is known as the "soundtrack to summer." In 1988, Scully was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame. His voice brought to life key moments in baseball history, including perfect games by Sandy Koufax and Don Larsen, Kirk Gibson's home run in the 1988 World series and Hank Aaron's record breaking 715th home run. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
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Bruce Springsteen is a singer, songwriter and bandleader. Springsteen's moving lyrics have helped shape American music and "challenged us to realize the American dream." He is also a Kennedy Center honoree. Springsteen and his band, the E Street Band, have also been inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
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Cicely Tyson has performed on the stage and screen. She has won two Emmy Awards and a Tony Award and is known for her performances in "Sounder," "The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman" and "The Help." She was award the Tony Award for best leading actress in 2013 and received the Kennedy Center Honors in 2015. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)
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