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Closeup: Medal of Freedom for alumnus Newt Minow

Newt Minow is honored by President Barack Obama. Getty image

Northwestern alumnus Newton Minow, originator of the televised U.S. presidential debates, received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, during a ceremony Nov. 22 at the White House. 

Minow was appointed by President John F. Kennedy to the Federal Communications Commission in the early 1960s and drafted legislation that expanded the broadcast spectrum and promoted the implementation of communication satellite technology.

He joined a long list of luminaries honored this year, including Bill and Melinda Gates, actors Tom Hanks and Robert DeNiro, basketball legend Michael Jordan and singer Diana Ross.