Oprah Winfrey, Ernie Banks To Receive Presidential Medal Of Freedom

News & Views | Camille Travis | 08/09/2013 | 12:00 AM EDT

Oprah, Ernie Banks To Be Honored With Presidential Medal of Freedom

Oprah Winfrey and Mr. Cub himself Ernie Banks will receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom later this year for their incredible work in their respective fields, the White House announced Thursday.

The media maven and celebrated athlete are among 16 recipients of the award which is considered the highest civilian honor. Other honorees include former President Bill Clinton, civil rights activist Bayard Rustin, minister/author Cordy Tindell "C.T." Vivian, former Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee, late U.S. Senator Dan Inouye, country singer Loretta Lynn and others.

"This year's honorees have been blessed with extraordinary talent, but what sets them apart is their gift for sharing that talent with the world," President Obama said in a statement. "It will be my honor to present them with a token of our nation's gratitude."

Winfrey will be recognized for her long-running talker The Oprah Winfrey Show which ended in 2011 and her philanthropic efforts around the world.

"Oprah Winfrey is one of the world’s most successful broadcast journalists," the White House said. "She is best known for creating The Oprah Winfrey Show, which became the highest rated talk show in America for 25 years. Ms. Winfrey has long been active in philanthropic causes and expanding opportunities for young women."

Banks, a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame, will be highlighted for his incredible career in Major League Baseball.

"Ernie Banks is one of the greatest baseball players of all time," the statement continued. "During his 19 seasons with the Chicago Cubs, he played in 11 All-Star Games, hit over 500 home runs, and became the first National League player to win Most Valuable Player honors in back-to-back years."

Past recipients include Muhammad Ali, Hank Aaron, Mother Teresa, Tony Blair, Jackie Robinson and more.

There has been no time or date set for the presentation of the medals.

(Photo: Ben Gabbe/Getty Images for Lee Daniel's THE BUTLER)

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