On Thursday (April 26), the White House released the list of honorees, which also includes former Secretary of State Madeline Albright, astronaut John Glenn, civil rights advocate Dolores Huerta, retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, novelist Toni Morrison, physician and epidemiologist William Foege, Israeli President Shimon Peres, and former NCAA women’s basketball coach and Alzheimer’s spokesperson Pat Summitt. The honor is being given posthumously to Gordon Hirabayashi, who was convicted and later exonerated for openly defying the forced internment of Japanese Americans during World War II; Girl Scouts founder Juliette Gordon Low; and Jan Karski, who served as an officer in the Polish Underground during World War II.
“These extraordinary honorees come from different backgrounds and different walks of life, but each of them has made a lasting contribution to the life of our nation,” President Obama says. “They’ve challenged us, they’ve inspired us, and they’ve made the world a better place. I look forward to recognizing them with this award.”
The awards will be presented at the White House in late spring.