Eminent Boston University Law AlumnusAwarded Presidential Medal of Freedom
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(Boston) — The Honorable Edward W. Brooke, III, former U.S. senator and Massachusetts state attorney general, was recently awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. President George W. Bush honored Brooke and 12 other recipients for their accomplishments in culture, politics, science, sports, and business at a White House ceremony in Washington.
Senator Brooke received his juris doctor from the Boston University School of Law in 1948 and his Master of Laws degree from the university in 1949. He was the first black elected to the U.S. Senate since Reconstruction, and represented Massachusetts from 1967 to 1979. His service to the Commonwealth was recognized when a new state courthouse was named the Edward W. Brooke Courthouse, making him the first black American to have a state courthouse named in his honor.
Among his many achievements as senator, Brooke helped change the banking world by sponsoring the bill ushering in NOW accounts and also wrote the Young Families Housing Act, which helped young families to buy homes.
Senator Brooke’s numerous awards and honors include the NAACP’s prestigious Spingarn Award; the Charles Evans Hughes Award from the National Conference of Christians and Jews; and more than thirty honorary degrees from a range of colleges and universities. He has also served as a trustee of Boston University and Northeastern University.
The Medal of Freedom, established by President Truman in 1945 to civilians for their efforts during World War II, was reinstated by President Kennedy in 1963 to honor Americans for their distinguished service.
Other Presidential Medal of Freedom winners honored with Senator Brooke were Arnold Palmer, winner of 92 golf championships; Pope John Paul II; actress Doris Day, singer and movie screen icon in the 50’s and 60’s; Walter B. Wriston, former chairman and chief executive of Citibank and chairman of President Reagan’s Economic Policy Advisory Board; Robert L. Bartley, editorial page editor of The Wall Street Journal for three decades; Rita Moreno, actress; Vartan Gregorian, scholar and historian; Gilbert M. Grosvenor, chairman of the National Geographic Society; Gordon B. Hinckley, president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; Estee Lauder, cosmetics pioneer; Arnall Patz, world-renowned ophthalmologist and researcher of eye disease; and Norman Podhoretz, author and longtime editor of Commentary, the American Jewish Committee magazine.