Presidential Medal of Freedom

The Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian award, recognizes exceptional meritorious service. The medal was established by President Truman in 1945 to recognize notable service in the war. In 1963, President John F. Kennedy reintroduced it as an honor for distinguished civilian service in peacetime.

Presidential Medal of Freedom Recipients

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    Abner Mikva


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      Albert Wohlstetter (1913–1997)

      University Professor in Political Science, 1964–80

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        Friedrich August von Hayek (1899–1992)

        Professor of Social and Moral Science in the Committee on Social Thought, 1950–64

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          Gary S. Becker (1930–2014)

          AM’53, PhD’55; University Professor in Economics and Sociology, 1970–2014

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            Hanna Holborn Gray

            Assistant Professor in History, 1961–64; Associate Professor of History, 1964–72; President of the University of Chicago, 1978–93; Harry Pratt Judson Distinguished Service Professor of History, 1994–present

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              James D. Watson

              PhB’46, SB’47, DSc (honorary)'61

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                James Q. Wilson (1931–2012)


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                  Janet Davison Rowley (1925–2013)

                  BS’46, MD’48; Blum Riese Distinguished Service Professor of Medicine, Molecular Genetics & Cell Biology and Human Genetics

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                    John Hope Franklin (1915–2009)

                    John Matthews Manly Distinguished Service Professor in History, 1969–1982

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                      Katharine Graham (1917–2001)

                      AB’38; former publisher and CEO of the Washington Post ; former member of the University of Chicago Board of Trustees

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                        Mildred Dresselhaus


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                          Milton Friedman (1912–2006)

                          AM'33; Research Assistant in the Social Science Research Committee, 1934–35; Associate Professor in the Department of Economics, 1946–48; Professor, 1948–62; Paul Snowden Russell Distinguished Service Professor, 1962–82; Paul Snowden Russell Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus, 1982–2006

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                            Patsy Takemoto Mink (1927-2002)


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                              Thornton Wilder (1897–1975)

                              Lecturer, 1930–37