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Presidential Medal of Freedom

Presidential Medal of Freedom
2003 Recipients

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Jacques Barzun
For more than seven decades, Jacques Barzun has been an influential voice in American life. As a professor, writer, and historian, he has helped to shape our culture, enlighten minds, and enrich lives. His scholarship offers eloquent wisdom and insightful commentary that stimulates thought and serves as a call to undertake great causes. The United States honors this intellectual for his achievements in educating and inspiring people in our country and around the world.

Julia Child
Through her instruction, joy, and enthusiasm for life, Julia Child has enriched American culture. After working during World War II with the Office of Strategic Services, she helped teach generations of Americans a new way to cook. She defied stereotypes and broke new ground in the developing world of television. Her many cookbooks and series made gourmet cuisine approachable and accessible for cooks and chefs everywhere. The United States honors this culinary artist and teacher for her many contributions to our society.

Roberto Clemente Walker
Roberto Clemente Walker was a superb professional athlete and a true humanitarian. On the baseball field, he had a Hall of Fame career as one of the games greatest right fielders. On and off the field, he was a model of kindness, generosity, and grace. Throughout his life, he demonstrated an abiding dedication to helping those in need. In his last act of devotion, Roberto Clemente Walker lost his life while seeking to serve others. The United States honors him for his athletic achievements and his compassionate heart.

Van Cliburn
With his historic victory in the first Tchaikovsky International Piano Competition in Moscow at the age of 23, Van Cliburn earned worldwide acclaim and helped shatter cultural barriers at the height of the Cold War. With his talent, he has delighted audiences throughout the world with masterful performances as a concert pianist. His deep commitment to the development of young artists is epitomized by the work of the Van Cliburn Foundation and the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition. The United States honors this skilled musician for his contributions to the arts and to our Nation.

V�clav Havel
A champion of democracy and opportunity, Vclav Havel has helped lead the fight for freedom in Central and Eastern Europe. After enduring oppression as a playwright living under communist rule, he worked to bring about a new birth of freedom, and served as president of Czechoslovakia and the first president of the new Czech Republic. His courage, determination, and dedication to human rights won him the respect of the world. The United States honors this remarkable leader for his many personal sacrifices and contributions to the cause of freedom and justice.

Charlton Heston
Charlton Heston is an American legend. During his acting career, he demonstrated charisma, grace, and strength while portraying some of historys greatest men and films greatest roles. Off the screen, he has advocated civil rights and established him-self as a patriot and ardent defender of the Constitution. The United States honors him for his lifetime of achievement as an actor and citizen.

Edward Teller
A brilliant physicist, Edward Teller helped shape the course of human history. He played a pivotal role in ending the Cold War through his work on the Manhattan Project, at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, which he co-founded, and on the Strategic Defense Initiative. He has been a strong advocate for our national defense and the cause of freedom. The United States honors him for his excellence in science and in education, and for his unwavering commitment to our Nation.

R. David Thomas
Daves life embodied the American Dream. Rising from humble beginnings, he founded one of the worlds most successful and popular restaurant chains and became a beloved American icon. An adopted child himself, he was one of our Nations leading advocates for adoption, passionately working to help provide foster children the loving homes they deserve through the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption. His leadership and success reflected his commitment to excellence and compassion for others. The United States honors him for his integrity and his lifetime of service.

Byron Raymond White
Byron White was an American hero who led an exemplary life. As an All-American college athlete, Rhodes Scholar, World War II Bronze Star recipient, NFL running back, Deputy Attorney General, and Supreme Court Justice, Byron White always excelled. At the Department of Justice, he worked to enforce civil rights and advance the cause of equal justice for all Americans. Appointed by President Kennedy to the Supreme Court at age 44, he served for 31 years as a strong, independent, and principled jurist. The United States honors Byron White for his lifetime of service to our Nation.

James Q. Wilson
As a leading social commentator and political scientist, James Q. Wilsons research and writings on issues of crime, ethics, and human nature have helped shape the world of ideas and influenced public policy. He has advised United States Presidents while encouraging character and personal responsibility among our citizens. The United States honors this teacher, writer, and scholar for his numerous contributions to our Nations social and civic life.

John R. Wooden
John R. Wooden is a sports legend. During the 1960s and 70s, he guided UCLA to an unprecedented 10 national championships in 12 years, building a dynasty that remains unparalleled in the history of college basketball. His teams reflected his discipline and his character. He taught basketball by teaching values, and his Pyramid of Success influenced generations of Americans. The United States honors him for his achievements as a coach and teacher and for his lifetime of integrity, grace, and excellence.

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