Obama awards Springsteen, Redford and DeGeneres Medal of Freedom

Before he leaves office, President Obama is decorating a starry list of entertainers, newsmakers and civilians with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

It's no surprise that Bruce Springsteen made the cut.

On Wednesday, Obama named 21 recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, which is presented to individuals who have made especially meritorious contributions to the security or national interests of the United States, to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.

The list honors a who's-who of Hollywood, including Tom Hanks, Ellen DeGeneres, Diana Ross, Robert DeNiro, Saturday Night Live creator Lorne Michaels, Robert Redford and Cicely Tyson.

"The Presidential Medal of Freedom is not just our nation's highest civilian honor — it's a tribute to the idea that all of us, no matter where we come from, have the opportunity to change this country for the better," said Obama in a statement. "From scientists, philanthropists, and public servants to activists, athletes, and artists, these 21 individuals have helped push America forward, inspiring millions of people around the world along the way."

Recipients spanned the sports world (Kareen Abdul-Jabbar, Michael Jordan), scientists (physicist Richard Garwin, NASA computer scientist Margaret H. Hamilton, WWII computer scientist Rear Admiral Grace Hopper), art-world legends (architect Frank Gehry, sculpture and landscape artist Maya Lin), journalists (sports broadcaster Vin Scully), and philanthropists and leaders, including Blackfeet Tribal community leader Elouise Cobell, Bill and Melinda Gates, attorney Newt Minow and ​Eduardo Padrón, president of Miami Dade College.

The awards will be presented at the White House on November 22.


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