The Hereditary Disease Foundation is thrilled to announce that HDF Board Member Frank O. Gehry has been awarded a 2016 Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor. In a ceremony at the White House on November 22, 2016, President Obama presented the award to Frank and twenty other recipients. Obama's words were as follows:
"Frank Gehry has never let popular acclaim defy his impulse to reverse convention. 'I was an outsider from the beginning,' he says, 'so for better or worse, I thrived on it.' The child of poor Jewish immigrants, Frank grew up in Los Angeles, and throughout his life he embraced the spirit of a city defined by an open horizon. He's spent his life rethinking shapes and mediums, seemingly the force of gravity itself; the idea of what architecture could be he decided to upend--constantly repurposing every material available, from titanium to a paper towel tube. He's inspiring our next generation through his advocacy for arts education in our schools. From the Guggenheim Bilbao to Chicago's Millennium Park--our hometown--to his home in Santa Monica which I understand caused some consternation among his neighbors, Frank's work teaches us that while buildings may be sturdy and fixed to the ground, like all great art they can lift our spirits. They can soar and broaden our horizons."
We congratulate Frank on this well-deserved and beautiful honor!