THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
STATEMENT BY THE PRESS SECRETARY
President Clinton announced today that he will award the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the Nation's highest civilian honor, to 15 distinguished individuals. The President will bestow the medals at a White House ceremony on August 9, 2000.
James Edward Burke. Burke is the former chairman of Johnson & Johnson. There, he successfully worked to restore consumer confidence in over-the-counter medications in the aftermath of the Tylenol drug-tampering scare. The current chairman of the Partnership for a Drug-Free America, he has helped develop the National Youth Media Campaign and drive down drug use among young people.
Senator John Chafee. Chafee served at Guadalcanal as a Marine lieutenant and went on to fight in the Korean War. He later served in the Rhode Island House of Representatives, as Governor of Rhode Island, as Secretary of the Navy, and as a United States Senator. He was one of the architects of the 1980 Superfund program and authored the Coastal Barrier Resources Act. Among the other bills he promoted were the Clean Water Act of 1986, the 1990 amendments to the Clean Air Act, and the Oil Pollution Act of 1990. Senator Chafee, who passed away last year, was also a champion of expanding health care for women, children, people with disabilities, and people with mental illness and was a strong advocate for children in our nation's foster care system.
General Wesley K. Clark, USA, Ret. General Clark graduated first in his class from West Point. He served in Vietnam, helped to negotiate the Dayton Peace Accords, and headed the U.S. European Command. As Supreme Allied Commander of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, he led NATO to victory in Kosovo.
Admiral William Crowe, USN, Ret. Four times the recipient of the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, Admiral Crowe has more than fifty years of government service. He served as commander of the Middle East Force in the Persian Gulf, head of Navy Plans and Policy, Commander in Chief of the United States Pacific Command, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He also was Chairman of the Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board, Ambassador to the Court of St. James, and Chairman of two Accountability Review Boards charged with investigating the bombings of the embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam.
Marian Wright Edelman. Currently president of the Children's Defense Fund, Edelman began her career as an attorney with the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund in 1964. She is the first African American woman admitted to the Mississippi bar. In 1976, she became the chair of the board of trustees of Spelman College, her alma mater -- the first African American and second woman to hold that post. She also was the first African American woman elected to the Yale University Corporation.
John Kenneth Galbraith. One of the leading economists of the 20th century and the author of more than 30 books, Galbraith also held numerous positions during a distinguished government career. During World War II, he was largely responsible for the Office of Price Administration's impressive record in controlling inflation. An advisor to Presidents Kennedy and Johnson, Galbraith also served as U.S. Ambassador to India during the Kennedy Administration. He also was chairman of Americans for Democratic Action from 1967-69 and taught economics at Harvard College for nearly 30 years.
Monsignor George G. Higgins. Once described by Lane Kirkland as "the labor movement's parish priest," Monsignor Higgins has devoted himself for more than 50 years to ensuring worker justice, and he has been honored several times by major labor groups. He has also shaped papal encyclicals to emphasize economic justice. He currently serves as an adjunct lecturer at Catholic University.
The Reverend Jesse Jackson, Sr. As field representative for the Council on Racial Equality, founder of Operation PUSH, PUSH-Excel, PUSH for Economic Justice, the National Rainbow Coalition, and The Wall Street Project, Reverend Jackson has worked to expand opportunities for minorities while encouraging youth to act responsibly. He was a Democratic Presidential candidate in 1984 and 1988. He has negotiated several hostage releases, most recently that of the three U.S. POWs held in the former Yugoslavia.
Mildred "Millie" Jeffrey. A leading women's labor and Democratic party activist, Jeffrey was the first female to direct a department of the United Auto Workers. She worked for the UAW from 1945-1976, heading four departments and serving as a special assistant to president Walter Reuther. She also served on commissions during the Kennedy and Carter administrations.
Dr. Mathilde Krim. Founder of the AIDS Medical Foundation in 1983, Dr. Krim was one of the earliest leaders in the effort to find a cure for HIV/AIDS. She has had a distinguished medical career, working on topics ranging from cancer research to human genetics, and her foundation, which joined with the American Foundation for AIDS Research in 1985, has poured millions of dollars into HIV/AIDS research efforts.
George McGovern. A war hero in World War II, McGovern was elected to the House of Representatives in 1956. In the Senate, he chaired the Select Committee on Nutrition and Human Needs, where he led the expansion of the Food Stamp Program, the Summer Food Service Program, and WIC. He was the 1972 Democratic nominee for President and currently is the U.S. Representative to the UN Food and Agricultural Organization, where he is developing a plan to address the food needs of 500 million people -- half the world's underfed -- by 2015.
Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan. Senator Moynihan has served New York in the United States Senate since 1977, establishing himself as a strong supporter of Social Security and distinguishing himself through his service on the Finance Committee. He is the only person to serve in the Cabinet or sub-Cabinet (including two ambassadorial appointments) of four successive presidential administrations, Kennedy through Ford.
Cruz Reynoso. From 1982 to 1987, Reynoso served as the first Latino California Supreme Court justice, after having served six years on the California Court of Appeals. During the late 1960s and early 1970s, he was associate general counsel for the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission and led California Rural Legal Assistance, one of the pioneering programs of the legal services movement. Reynoso has served as U.S. Delegate to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, and President Carter appointed him to the Select Commission on Immigration and Refugee Policy. Reynoso currently is in private law practice, teaches law, and serves as vice chairman of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.
The Reverend Gardner C. Taylor. An author and early civil rights supporter, Reverend Taylor was recognized by Time magazine as "the Dean of the Nation?s black preachers." Under his leadership, his church - Concord Baptist Church of Christ in Brooklyn - became the most prestigious black church in America.
Simon Wiesenthal. A concentration camp survivor, Wiesenthal has devoted his life to developing evidence that can be used to prosecute Nazi war criminals. His most famous discovery was the material that led to the capture, trial, and execution of Adolf Eichmann. A special branch of his office documents the activities of right-wing groups, neo-Nazis, and similar organizations. In 1977, he founded the Simon Wiesenthal Center, which works to fight bigotry and anti-Semitism. President Carter presented the U.S. Congressional Gold Medal to Wiesenthal in 1980, and Wiesenthal received the French Legion of Honor in 1986.