All Presidential Medal of Freedom Winners

This is a complete list of Presidential Medal of Freedom winners, since its inception. Photos are included for almost every Presidential Medal of Freedom winner. 

Winners of the Presidential Medal of Freedom in every year are listed here alphabetically, but you can sort this Presidential Medal of Freedom list by any column. Items include everything from Andrew Goodpaster to Homer Morrison Byington.

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  • A. M. Rosenthal
    Dec. at 84 (1922-2006)
    • Birthplace: Sault Ste. Marie, Canada

    Awarded by George W. Bush  in 2002

    Abraham Michael "Abe" Rosenthal (May 2, 1922 – May 10, 2006) was a US journalist who served as The New York Times Executive Editor from 1977 to 1988, having served previously as the City Editor and Managing Editor. At the end of his tenure as Executive Editor, he became a columnist (1987–1999) and New York Daily News columnist (1999–2004). He joined The New York Times in 1943 and remained there for 56 years, to 1999. Rosenthal won a Pulitzer Prize in 1960 for international reporting. As an editor at the newspaper, Rosenthal oversaw the coverage of a number of major news stories including the Vietnam War (1961–1975), the Pentagon Papers (1971), and the Watergate scandal (1972–1974). He was instrumental in the paper's coverage of the 1964 Kitty Genovese murder case, which was widely influential and established the concept of the "bystander effect", but later came to be regarded as flawed and misleading. Together with Catherine A. Fitzpatrick, he was the first Westerner to visit a Soviet Gulag camp in 1988. His son, Andrew Rosenthal, was The Times editorial page editor from 2007 to 2016.
    • Birthplace: Manhattan, New York City, New York, USA

    Awarded by George W. Bush  in 2005

    Alan Greenspan (; born March 6, 1926) is an American economist who served as Chair of the Federal Reserve of the United States from 1987 to 2006. He currently works as a private adviser and provides consulting for firms through his company, Greenspan Associates LLC. First appointed Federal Reserve chairman by President Ronald Reagan in August 1987, he was reappointed at successive four-year intervals until retiring on January 31, 2006, after the second-longest tenure in the position (behind William McChesney Martin).Greenspan came to the Federal Reserve Board from a consulting career. Although he was subdued in his public appearances, favorable media coverage raised his profile to a point that several observers likened him to a "rock star". Democratic leaders of Congress criticized him for politicizing his office because of his support for Social Security privatization and tax cuts, which they felt would increase the deficit.The easy-money policies of the Fed during Greenspan's tenure have been suggested by some to be a leading cause of the dotcom bubble, and the subprime mortgage crisis (occurring within a year of his leaving the Fed), which, said the Wall Street Journal, "tarnished his reputation." Yale economist Robert Shiller argues that "once stocks fell, real estate became the primary outlet for the speculative frenzy that the stock market had unleashed". Greenspan argues that the housing bubble was not a product of low-interest rates but rather a worldwide phenomenon caused by the precipitous decline in long term interest rates.
  • Alan Page
    Age: 78
    • Birthplace: Canton, Ohio, USA

    Awarded by Donald Trump in 2018

    Alan Cedric Page (born August 7, 1945) is a retired jurist and former professional American football player. He gained national recognition as a defensive tackle in the National Football League during 15 seasons with the Minnesota Vikings and Chicago Bears, and then embarked on a legal career. Page earned a B.A. in political science from the University of Notre Dame in 1967 and a J.D. from the University of Minnesota Law School in 1978. He served as an associate justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court from 1993 until he reached the court's mandatory retirement age of 70 in 2015. Page was the first defensive player to win the MVP Award and only Lawrence Taylor has done it since. He is a member of both the College Football Hall of Fame (1993) and the Pro Football Hall of Fame (1988), and is considered one of the greatest defensive linemen ever to play the game. In 2018, President Donald Trump awarded Page the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
  • Alan Tower Waterman
    Dec. at 75 (1892-1967)
    • Birthplace: Cornwall on Hudson, New York

    Awarded by John F. Kennedy in 1963

    Alan Tower Waterman (June 4, 1892 – November 30, 1967) was an American physicist. Born in Cornwall-on-Hudson, New York, he grew up in Northampton, Massachusetts. His father was a professor of physics at Smith College. Alan also became a physicist, doing his undergraduate and doctoral work at Princeton University, from which he obtained his Ph.D. in 1916.He joined the faculty of the University of Cincinnati, and married Vassar graduate Mary Mallon (sister of H. Neil Mallon) there in August 1917. He later became a professor at Yale University, and moved to North Haven, Connecticut in 1929. During World War II, he took leave of absence from Yale to become director of field operations for the Office of Scientific Research and Development, and the family moved to Cambridge, MA. He continued his government work and became deputy chief of the Office of Naval Research. In 1950, he was appointed by President Truman as first director of the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF). Waterman was awarded the Public Welfare Medal from the National Academy of Sciences in 1960. He served as director until 1963, when he retired and was subsequently awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. He died in 1967. Alan and Mary had six children: Alan Jr., an atmospheric physicist who taught at Stanford University, Neil, Barbara, Anne, and Guy, writer, climber, and conservationist. A daughter Mary died in childhood. Possessed of a gentle nature, Alan Waterman was known for his calm and reasoned point of view. He believed in public service. Besides his scientific talents, he was an accomplished musician, revealing his sense of humor by walking the corridors of the National Science Foundation playing his bagpipes. He had a fine voice and singing together was a family ritual. An avid outdoorsman, Dr. Waterman canoed the rivers and lakes of northern Maine during extensive summer trips in the 1930s and 1940s. He was accompanied by his sons and colleagues, in particular Karl Compton, then president of MIT. Dr. Waterman was known to say that becoming a licensed Maine Guide meant possibly more to him than his NSF appointment. The crater Waterman on the Moon is named after him, as is Mount Waterman in the Hughes Range of Antarctica. Since 1975, the National Science Foundation has annually issued the Alan T. Waterman Award (named in Waterman's honor) to a promising young researcher.
  • Albert Sabin
    Dec. at 86 (1906-1993)
    • Birthplace: Białystok, Poland

    Awarded by Ronald Reagan in 1986

    Albert Bruce Sabin (born Abram Saperstein; August 26, 1906 – March 3, 1993) was a Polish American medical researcher, best known for developing the oral polio vaccine, which has played a key role in nearly eradicating the disease.
  • Albert Shanker
    Dec. at 68 (1928-1997)
    • Birthplace: New York City, New York

    Awarded by Bill Clinton in 1998

    Albert Shanker (September 14, 1928 – February 22, 1997) was president of the United Federation of Teachers from 1964 to 1985 and president of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) from 1974 to 1997.