WASHINGTON -- President Bush selected 12 leaders in arts, sports, entertainment, politics and newspaper journalism--from Nancy Reagan to Mister Rogers--for the prestigious Presidential Medal of Freedom.
The medal recipients, announced Thursday at the White House, will claim the nation’s highest civilian honor at a White House ceremony with the president next month.
Bush is awarding one medal posthumously, to former Washington Post publisher Katharine Graham, who died last year at 84.
The Medal of Freedom, established by President Truman in 1945 to recognize civilians for their service during World War II, was reinstated by President Kennedy in 1963 to honor distinguished service. Bush will award the medal to:
* Former South African president and Nobel Peace Prize winner Nelson Mandela.
* Nancy Reagan, the former first lady, saluted by the Bush White House for her continuing work against drug and alcohol abuse and her promotion of the Foster Grandparent program.
* Hank Aaron, who began his baseball career in the Negro Leagues and holds the career records for home runs--755 in his 23-year career--as well as runs batted in and total bases.
* Bill Cosby, whose 1980s hit “The Cosby Show” revolutionized television’s portrayal of black Americans, the White House said.
* Opera tenor, conductor and arts administrator Placido Domingo.
* Fred Rogers, whose “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” spanned more than three decades of public television.
* Graham, “known as an editor who maintained excellence by supporting her reporters and encouraging those who worked for her,” the White House said.
* New York Times editor and columnist A.M. Rosenthal.
* Dr. D.A. Henderson, best known for his leadership of the World Health Organization’s global smallpox eradication campaign from 1966 to 1977.
* Intel Corp. co-founder Gordon Moore, who “directed the company’s growth as the most successful developer of the microchip,” the White House said.
* Author, editor and former New York University professor Irving Kristol, whose writings “helped lay the intellectual groundwork for the renaissance of conservative ideas in the last half of the 20th century,” the White House said.
* Peter Drucker, whom the White House called “the world’s foremost pioneer of management theory” and a champion of concepts such as privatization.