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Ryan Piurek
Director, news and media, IU Communications

Last modified: Thursday, August 8, 2013

IU faculty member Richard Lugar 'deeply honored' to be receiving Presidential Medal of Freedom

Aug. 8, 2013

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Former U.S. Sen. Richard Lugar, a distinguished scholar and professor of practice at the Indiana University School of Global and International Studies, is one of 16 Americans who will receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom for 2013.

President Barack Obama announced the recipients today. The Presidential Medal of Freedom is awarded for meritorious contributions to U.S. security or national interests, world peace, or to cultural or other significant endeavors. The awards will be presented later this year at the White House.

"I am deeply honored to be named by President Obama to receive our nation's highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom," Lugar said. "I was inspired to think of 'service above self' by loving parents, Marvin and Bertha Lugar, and have been supported for many years by my sweetheart, Char, and our four talented and devoted sons, Mark, Robert, John and David.

"I am grateful to God for leading me into paths of helping to make a constructive difference in my city of Indianapolis, my state of Indiana, and the safety and security of my great country," Lugar said.

Lugar represented Indiana in the U.S. Senate for 36 years. An internationally respected statesman, he is best known for his bipartisan leadership and decades-long commitment to reducing the threat of nuclear weapons. Before serving in Congress, Lugar was a Rhodes Scholar and was mayor of Indianapolis from 1968 to 1975. He currently serves as president of The Lugar Center, a nonprofit organization in Washington, D.C.

"I can think of few individuals more deserving of the Presidential Medal of Freedom than Senator Richard Lugar, the longest-serving U.S. senator in Indiana's history and one of America's greatest statesmen and internationalists," IU President Michael A. McRobbie said. "This honor reflects the extraordinary contributions he has made to improving the quality of life of Hoosiers, whom he represented so admirably for so many years, to making our nation more safe and secure, and to building a better world. We are extremely proud to call Senator Lugar a faculty member in our new School of Global and International Studies, and we salute him on receiving the nation's highest civilian honor."

President John F. Kennedy signed the executive order establishing the Presidential Medal of Freedom 50 years ago and bestowed the honor on an inaugural class of 31 recipients. Other 2013 recipients include baseball star Ernie Banks, President Bill Clinton, country musician Loretta Lynn, media entrepreneur Oprah Winfrey, astronaut Sally Ride (deceased) and feminist author Gloria Steinem.

McRobbie announced Lugar's appointment as an IU faculty member in January 2013. He also announced at the time that Lee Hamilton, who represented Indiana in Congress for 34 years and directs the Center on Congress at Indiana University, would join Lugar as a distinguished scholar and professor of practice at the School of Global and International Studies.