Today, President Barack Obama named 21 recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, among them architects Frank Gehry and Maya Lin. The award is considered the United State’s highest civilian honor and bestowed to those “who have made especially meritorious contributions” to the United States.
“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 President Obama. “These 21 individuals have helped push America forward, inspiring millions of people around the world along the way."
In the announcement, the White House described Gehry as “one of the world’s leading architects, whose works have helped define contemporary architecture.” The declaration also highlighted Lin’s contributions to environmentalism, and her Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C.
Other honorees this year include Bill and Melinda Gates, Ellen DeGeneres, Michael Jordan, Diana Ross, and Bruce Springsteen. Mies van der Rohe, Buckminster Fuller, and I.M. Pei have also received the award in the past.
Watch a video of the ceremony below.