Newton Minow Receives Presidential Medal of Freedom

Source - Northwestern University - Newton Minow.jpg
Photo Source: Northwestern University/Stephen Anzaldi

Newton Minow, a former chairman of Carnegie Corporation of New York’s board of trustees, was named one of 21 recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, bestowing upon him the country’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.
— President Barack Obama

According to the White House announcement on November 16, the Medal is presented to individuals who have made especially meritorious contributions to the security or national interests of the United States, to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.

Minow, a distinguished public servant who chaired the Federal Communications Commission, served on the Carnegie Corporation board from 1986 through 1997 and was chair from January 1993 through January 1997.


“We at Carnegie Corporation of New York are extremely proud of Newton Minow for receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor,” said Vartan Gregorian, Carnegie Corporation president and a 2004 Presidential Medal of Freedom honoree. “Throughout his remarkable career, Mr. Minow has given his time and talent to myriad institutions and causes—not only the Corporation, but PBS, Northwestern University, the University of Notre Dame, the Mayo Clinic, and more. We are grateful to him for his service, and salute him for this wonderful and most well-deserved recognition.”

President Obama commented, “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. From scientists, philanthropists, and public servants to activists, athletes, and artists, these 21 individuals have helped push America forward, inspiring millions of people around the world along the way."

Other recipients include Bill and Melinda Gates, whose family was recognized with the inaugural Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy in 2001, and Eduardo J. Padrón, president of Miami Dade College, who received Carnegie Corporation’s Academic Leadership Award in 2011 for his exceptional work in higher education.


In honoring Newton Minow, the White House noted:

Newt Minow is an attorney with a long and distinguished career in public life. After serving in the U.S. Army during World War II, Minow served as a Supreme Court clerk and counsel to the Governor of Illinois. In 1961, President Kennedy selected Minow, then 34, to serve as Chairman of the Federal Communications Committee (FCC), where he helped shape the future of American television and was a vigorous advocate for broadcasting that promoted the public interest. In the five decades since leaving the FCC, Minow has maintained a prominent private law practice while devoting himself to numerous public and charitable causes.

Minow is an honorary Carnegie Corporation trustee for life. He will receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom at the White House on November 22nd.

Read more about the medal and 21 honorees for 2016.