Obama Administration

Bill Clinton, Oprah Winfrey to Get Presidential Medals of Freedom

Among group of 16 others getting high civilian honor

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Former President Bill Clinton is headed back to the White House — just for a day — and Oprah is coming, too.

Clinton and Oprah Winfrey will be among 16 people that President Barack Obama will venerate later this year with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the White House announced Thursday. They'll join other prominent people to be honored this year, including musicians, scientists, activists — even an astronaut.

Fifty years ago, President John F. Kennedy created the medal — the highest honor the U.S. bestows on civilians — with the stroke of a pen to an executive order. In the five decades since, more than 500 people have been recognized for contributions to society of all stripes.