June 11, 2008 — CORAL GABLES, FL — The White House announced today that University of Miami President Donna E. Shalala will be among those honored with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian award. President George W. Bush will honor the recipients at a White House ceremony on Thursday, June 19.
A White House statement announcing the honor praised Shalala “as one of our nation's most distinguished educators and public officials. She has worked tirelessly to ensure that all Americans can enjoy lives of hope, promise, and dignity.”
The medal is awarded by the President of the United States to an individual who has made an especially meritorious contribution to the “security or national interests of the United States or world peace or cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.”
“I am deeply honored by this special recognition. Both as an educator and a public servant, I have always considered it a duty and a privilege to serve my country and to promote the rights and responsibilities of being an engaged citizen of a free nation.”
Shalala served eight years as U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) from 1993 – 2001 becoming the longest serving HHS Secretary in U.S. history. In 2007, President Bush appointed her to co-chair with Senator Bob Dole the Commission on Care for Returning Wounded Warriors, to evaluate how wounded service members transition from active duty to civilian society.
An accomplished scholar, teacher and administrator, Shalala became the University of Miami’s fifth president on June 1, 2001. She served as President of Hunter College of the City University of New York from 1980 to 1987 and as Chancellor of the University of Wisconsin-Madison from 1987 to 1993.
Other recipients receiving the medal are Benjamin Carson, Sr., M.D., Anthony Fauci, M.D., Tom Lantos, General Peter Pace and Laurence H. Silberman. For more information, visit http://www.medaloffreedom.com.
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