President Clinton Awards the Presidential Citizens Medals
Monday, January 8, 2001
Today, President Clinton will present the Presidential Citizens Medal to 28 honorees. These individuals are being recognized for their remarkable service and accomplishments in a variety of areas including civil rights, medicine and health, human rights, religion, education, disability advocacy, government service, and the environment.
The Presidential Citizens Medal was established on November 13, 1969, by Executive Order 11494. The medal is awarded by the President of the United States in recognition of U.S. citizens who have performed exemplary deeds of service for our nation. The medal may be bestowed by the President upon any citizen of the United States and may be conferred posthumously.
Below is a list of recipients, including the citation language.
Henry "Hank" Aaron
A sports legend, Hank Aaron not only set baseball’s all-time home-run record, but tore down racial barriers in the process. He played the game with extraordinary grace and skill despite encountering chilling discrimination, and he blazed a trail to baseball’s front office for other African Americans. A staunch civil rights advocate and a champion of underprivileged children, Hank Aaron has shown us the thrill of victory and the importance of giving every American an equal opportunity to strive for it.
The most celebrated boxer in history and a devoted social activist, Muhammad Ali continues to inspire us. Truly the "greatest of all time," Ali dominated boxing for two decades, winning an Olympic gold medal and becoming a three-time heavyweight champion of the world. With equal tenacity, through his advocacy for peace, tolerance, and compassion, he challenges our Nation to strive for equality and justice for all, earning our deepest respect and gratitude.
As Co-Founder, President, and Executive Director of the United States Hispanic Leadership Institute, Juan Andrade has been a staunch advocate for America’s Latino community. He has helped register more than a million new Latino voters and has worked to increase Hispanic representation at every level of government. Recognizing the promise of future generations, he has also dedicated himself to helping prepare young Hispanic Americans to become leaders of our Nation.
As a small, brave child, Ruby Bridges walked with courage past angry protestors and into the history books as the African American child who integrated her New Orleans school. Forty years later, she continues to show that same courage, rejecting bitterness to bring a message of love, faith, and acceptance to a new generation of Americans.
Ronald H. Brown (posthumously)
Throughout his life, Ron Brown worked to eliminate racial barriers and create opportunity for all Americans. As the first African American to become a partner in his law firm, chairman of a major political party, and Secretary of Commerce, he showed us that we all benefit from an inclusive society. Opening international markets for American businesses and promoting commercial diplomacy, he demonstrated the value of cooperation and helped ensure America’s leadership in the global economy.
A powerful voice for students and teachers, Don Cameron has worked with a pioneering spirit to address the challenges facing America’s public schools. As Executive Director of the National Education Association and as Founding Co-Chair of the CEO Forum on Education and Technology, he has strived for almost 2 decades to ensure students have the talented teachers and technological skills they need to succeed in the 21st century.
Carol Coston, O.P.
A tireless advocate for the poor and oppressed, Sister Carol Coston has worked with faith and vision to shape public policy that reflects Christian values. From promoting human rights and social justice to helping bring economic development to low-income areas, Sister Carol Coston has used her creative leadership and moral compass to build a more just society in America and around the world.
A renowned jurist, distinguished law professor, and exemplary public servant, Archibald Cox has devoted his career to defending the rule of law. As Solicitor General, he argued numerous landmark civil rights cases before the U.S. Supreme Court; as Special Prosecutor during a time of constitutional crisis, he carried out his responsibilities with moral courage and uncompromising integrity; and as Chairman of Common Cause, he worked vigorously for campaign finance reform, insistent on a government of, by, and for the people.
Dr. Charles Delisi
A pioneer and visionary, biophysicist Dr. Charles DeLisi has profoundly increased our knowledge about the building blocks of life. The first government scientist to outline the feasibility, goals, and parameters of the Human Genome Project, he helped to galvanize an international team of researchers to pool resources, create new technologies, and launch the monumental task of gene mapping and sequencing.
In the courtroom and the classroom, Jack Greenberg has been a crusader for freedom and equality for more than half a century. Arguing 40 civil rights cases before the United States Supreme Court, including the historic Brown v. Board of Education, he helped break down the legal underpinnings of desegregation in America, and as a professor of law, an advocate for international human rights, and head of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, he has helped shape a more just society.
One of the world's leaders in the fight against HIV/AIDS, David Ho has unraveled much of the mystery of the virus, helping us understand how it behaves and how it is best treated. His groundbreaking work using protease inhibitors in combination with standard therapies has ensured that thousands of people with AIDS live longer and healthier lives. For his tireless efforts and commitment to helping others, our nation is forever grateful.
Dr. I. King Jordan
As the first deaf president of Gallaudet University, Dr. I. King Jordan has become a hero, mentor, and tireless advocate for people who are deaf or hard of hearing. Trained in psychology, he has been a champion of higher education, and he played a key role in the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Through his extraordinary leadership and achievements, Dr. Jordan has raised international awareness of the importance of self-determination and full integration for all people with disabilities.
Revered by colleagues and readers alike for his Pulitzer prize-winning reporting, profound insight, and broad understanding of constitutional law, Anthony Lewis has set the highest standard of journalistic ethics and excellence. A staunch defender of freedom of speech, individual rights, and the rule of law, he has been a clear and courageous voice for democracy and justice.
When Irene Morgan boarded a bus for Baltimore in the summer of 1944, she took the first step on a journey that would change America forever. Refusing to surrender her seat to a white couple, she was arrested, tried, and fined for breaking segregation laws. With courage and tenacity, she appealed her conviction and won a landmark Supreme Court victory that outlawed segregation in interstate transportation and helped make America a more just society.
Constance Baker Motley
A key legal strategist of the civil rights movement, Constance Baker Motley waged the battle for equality in the courtroom and, with quiet courage and remarkable skill, won landmark victories that dismantled segregation in America. As a dedicated public servant and distinguished judge, she has broken down political, social, and professional barriers, and her pursuit of equal justice under law has widened the circle of opportunity in America.
A dedicated pediatrician, outstanding educator, and dynamic leader in public health, Dr. Helen Rodriguez-Trias has strived to ensure full and equal access to health care for all. With unwavering conviction, she has challenged discriminatory practices in health care, encouraged community involvement in creating healthy environments, worked to prevent the spread of AIDS, and advocated for improving women’s and children’s health. Throughout her career, she has met every challenge with wisdom, strength, and compassion.
A devoted public servant for 43 years, Edward Roybal was at the forefront of efforts to advance civil rights, establish rural mental health programs, fund AIDS research, and improve support services for veterans and the elderly. As founder of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, he created a national forum for Hispanic issues and opened doors for a new generation of Hispanic American leaders.
Leaving a brilliant career on Wall Street to serve as Director of the National Economic Council and Secretary of the Treasury, Robert Rubin played a pivotal role in creating America's longest economic expansion. He forged a new team approach that produced an economic framework based on fiscal discipline, investment in opportunity, and expanded trade, while exhibiting exceptional leadership in ensuring global financial stability. His efforts helped countless Americans share in an era of unprecedented prosperity.
Senator Warren B. Rudman
Warren Rudman has always put his country first, whether fighting for freedom in the Korean War, defending the Constitution as a United States Senator, promoting fiscal discipline as Co-Founder of the Concord Coalition, or helping to shape national security policy as Chairman of the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board. Forthright and courageous, he has consistently rejected partisanship and created a remarkable legacy of public service.
Charles Ruff (posthumously)
A distinguished lawyer and exceptional public servant, Charles Ruff dedicated his career to advancing the cause of justice. Whether serving as Watergate Special Prosecutor, Acting Deputy Attorney General, United States Attorney, Corporation Counsel for the District of Columbia, or Counsel to the President, he fulfilled his demanding responsibilities with singular judgment, integrity, and devotion to the rule of law. Wise and compassionate, he used his extraordinary skills to strengthen our nation’s legal system and revitalize our nation’s capital.
Rabbi Arthur Schneier
A Holocaust survivor, Rabbi Arthur Schneier has devoted a lifetime to overcoming the forces of hatred and intolerance. As an international envoy, Chairman of the Commission for the Preservation of America's Heritage Abroad, and founder and president of the Appeal of Conscience Foundation, he has set an inspiring example of spiritual leadership by encouraging interfaith dialogue and intercultural understanding and promoting the cause of religious freedom around the world.
Eli J. Segal
As founder of AmeriCorps and the first Chief Executive Officer of the Corporation for National and Community Service, Eli Segal has galvanized the American spirit of community and helped us realize the dream of a vital civilian service corps. As President and Chief Executive Officer of the Welfare-to-Work Partnership, he has brought businesses and communities together to create opportunity for welfare recipients, enabling them to experience the power, dignity, and independence of work.
Juan Andrade, Jr.
John F. Seiberling
An ardent advocate for the environment, John F. Seiberling has demonstrated a profound commitment to America’s natural treasures. Championing numerous bills during his 17 years in Congress, including the Alaska Lands Act, John Seiberling safeguarded millions of acres of parks, forests, wildlife refuges, and wilderness areas. Working in a spirit of bipartisanship, he also promoted civil rights and worker rights, always striving to improve the quality of life in America.
John Sengstacke (posthumously)
A lifetime crusader for equal opportunity for African Americans, John Sengstacke used the power of the press to bring our nation closer to its ideals. As owner, publisher, and editor of the legendary Chicago Defender, he provided a national forum for African American issues, nurtured the talents of generations of African American journalists, and played a crucial role in helping to integrate the Armed Forces, major league baseball, the U.S. Postal Service, and the White House press corps.
Reverend Fred L. Shuttlesworth
As Founder of the Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights and Co-Founder of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, the Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth endured imprisonment, assault, and the bombing of his home to integrate Birmingham’s public facilities. A hero of the civil rights movement and a freedom fighter motivated by his faith in God, he taught all Americans that freedom and justice are worth any price.
A screen legend, Elizabeth Taylor has captured the hearts of audiences around the world, portraying some of the most memorable characters in film history. A dedicated leader in the fight against AIDS, she has focused national attention on this devastating disease. With grace, style, and compassion, she has reminded us of our responsibility to reach out to those in need.
Convinced that our greatest hope for a just society is to teach tolerance and mutual respect, Marion Wiesel has worked with creativity and compassion to combat hatred and injustice. Whether writing a haunting documentary about the children of the Holocaust, translating her husband’s work, or helping young Ethiopians in Israel to thrive and succeed in a new land, she is replacing despair with dignity and overcoming ignorance with understanding.
Widely regarded as "The General" guiding the campaign to pass the Americans with Disabilities Act, Patrisha Wright has been a driving force in the battle against discrimination based on disability. Through her tireless efforts to forge relationships with the civil rights community, defend disability rights, and promote progressive legislation, she has helped break down barriers to equality of opportunity, enabling people with disabilities to participate more fully in our society.