John Wooden and James Q. Wilson to Receive Presidential Medal of Freedom, Nation's Highest Civilian Honor

July 21, 2003

UCLA basketball legend John R. Wooden and UCLA emeritus professor and renowned social commentator James Q. Wilson will receive the nation's highest civilian award, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, at a White House ceremony July 23.

Wooden, who was UCLA's head coach for 27 seasons (1948-49 through 1974-75), led the Bruins to a record 10 NCAA National Championships, including seven in a row from 1967-1973. Wooden is the only coach to compile four undefeated seasons of 30-0 and his Bruin teams captured 19 conference championships. Also, Wooden is the author of several books and created the 'Pyramid of Success,' a model for personal and professional achievement.

Wilson, professor emeritus of management at The Anderson School at UCLA, also held a joint faculty appointment in UCLA's political science department. He authored or co-authored 12 books, and has written nearly 100 articles on topics such as crime, urban affairs, politics, criminal justice and economic regulation. His work has appeared in publications such as Harper's, Atlantic Monthly, The New Republic and New York Magazine.

This is the first time two members of the UCLA family are being recognized in the same year. Past UCLA recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom include Ralph J. Bunche (1963), Jackie Robinson (1984), Arthur Ashe (1993) and Cruz Reynoso (2000).

'John Wooden and James Q. Wilson embody the spirit in which this extraordinary accolade is presented,' said UCLA Chancellor Albert Carnesale. 'By achieving greatness in their respective professions, they have inspired countless others to pursue their own intellectual and personal goals. The UCLA family is honored to see that their service to society was deemed worthy of recognition at the highest level,' he added.

Established in 1945 by President Harry S. Truman, the Presidential Medal of Freedom originally recognized notable service in the war. In 1963 President John F. Kennedy reintroduced it as an honor for distinguished civilian service in peacetime.

Other recipients of this year's award include Van Cliburn, Julia Child, Charlton Heston and Vaclav Havel.

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