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President Bill Clinton ’73, Patricia Wald ’51 to Receive Presidential Medal of Freedom

Former President Bill Clinton ’73 and appellate judge Patricia Wald ’51 have been named as recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

The Presidential Medal of Freedom is the nation’s highest honor, presented to individuals who have made especially meritorious contributions to the security of national interests of the United States, to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors. The awards will be presented at the White House later this year.

President Clinton served as Governor and Attorney General of Arkansas before he was elected as the 42nd President of the United States. Following his second term in office, President Clinton established the Clinton Foundation to improve global health, strengthen economies, promote health and wellness, and protect the environment. He also formed the Clinton-Bush Haiti Fund with President George W. Bush in 2010. President Clinton was the featured speaker at Yale Law School’s 2008 Alumni Weekend, focusing his address on “Our Global Challenges.”

Patricia Wald is one of the most respected appellate judges of her generation. She graduated in 1951 from Yale Law School as one of only eleven women in her class. Wald was the first woman appointed to the United State Circuit Court of Appeals in the District of Columbia, and served as Chief Judge from 1986-1991. She later served on the International Criminal Tribunal in The Hague. Wald currently serves on the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board. Wald addressed students at Yale Law School this past April during a panel discussion hosted by Yale Law Women and Yale Law School’s chapter of the American Constitution Society.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Executive Order signed by President John F. Kennedy establishing the Presidential Medal of Freedom, as well as the ceremony bestowing the honor of an inaugural class of 31 recipients. Since then, more than 500 exceptional individuals have been awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

To see the complete list of this year’s recipients, click here.