July 22, 2003

Professor Emeritus James Q. Wilson Receives Presidential Medal of Freedom, Nation's Highest Civilian Honor

UCLA's Legendary Basketball Coach John Wooden Also Honored

LOS ANGELES — Renowned social commentator and Anderson School professor emeritus James Q. Wilson received the nation's highest civilian award, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, at a White House ceremony on Wednesday, July 23. Among those joining him in receiving this honor was longtime UCLA basketball coach John R. Wooden, who was head coach for 27 seasons (1948-49 through 1974-75), led the Bruins to a record 10 NCAA National Championships, including seven in a row from 1967-1973.

This was the first time two members of the UCLA family were recognized in the same year. Past UCLA recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom include Ralph J. Bunche (1963), Jackie Robinson (1984), Arthur Ashe (1993) and Cruz Reynoso (2000).

"John Wooden and James Q. Wilson embody the spirit in which this extraordinary accolade is presented," said UCLA Chancellor Albert Carnesale. "By achieving greatness in their respective professions, they have inspired countless others to pursue their own intellectual and personal goals. The UCLA family is honored to see that their service to society was deemed worthy of recognition at the highest level," he added.

Since beginning his distinguished career as a professor of government at Harvard University in the 1960s, Dr. Wilson has earned a reputation as a criminologist, economist and political analyst. He joined the faculty of The Anderson School at UCLA in 1984 and was soon after appointed holder of the James A. Collins Chair in Management, a title he holds today in emeritus status. He also held a joint faculty appointment in UCLA's political science department.

Prof. Wilson was a gifted, dedicated and well-respected teacher. In 1986, he won the Executive MBA Program Teaching Award. Courses he taught at The Anderson School and in the political science department covered a variety of topics, including, The Political Environment of Business, The Morality of Capitalism, Bureaucracy, Public Administration and Public Policy, and The Manager and Business/Society Relations.

In addition to writing dozens of academic journal articles and editing and contributing to scores of books on urban problems, government regulation of business, and the prevention of delinquency among children, Prof. Wilson authored or co-authored 12 books, including, "The Moral Sense," Free Press, 1993; "American Government," D.C. Heath, 5th Ed., 1992; "Drugs and Crime," The University of Chicago Press, 1990; "Crime and Human Nature," Simon & Schuster, 1985; "Thinking About Crime," Basic Books, 1975; "Political Organizations," Basic Books, 1973; and "Varieties of Police Behavior," Harvard University Press, 1968.

Prof. Wilson was also prolific in the popular press, having written nearly 100 articles on such subjects as crime, bureaucracy, urban affairs, politics, criminal justice and economic regulation in such publications as Harper's, Atlantic Monthly, The New York Times Sunday Magazine, The Public Interest, The New Republic and New York Magazine. Additionally, journalists worldwide continue to seek his thoughts for articles they are preparing on business, political and public policy issues.

Prof. Wilson has served on a number of national commissions concerned with public policy. He was chairman of the White House Task Force on Crime in 1967, chairman of the National Advisory Commission on Drug Abuse Prevention from 1972 to1973, a member of the Attorney General's Task Force on Violent Crime in 1981, and a member of the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board from 1985 to 1990. He has also served as a consultant to the RAND Corporation since 1986 and is currently on the board of directors of the New England Electric System and the Institute for Educational Affairs.

In 1990, Dr. Wilson received the James Madison award for distinguished scholarship from the American Political Science Association, an organization for which he later served as president.

Dr. Wilson grew up in Southern California, attended University of Redlands, from which he earned a bachelor of arts in political science in 1952. After college, he joined the United States Navy for three years, serving as a lieutenant, junior grade, in the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations and on the USS Tarawa. After he left the Navy, he continued his academic pursuits at The University of Chicago, from which he received his Ph.D. in political science in 1959. Over the years, he has been awarded honorary degrees from six universities.

Established in 1945 by President Harry S. Truman, the Presidential Medal of Freedom originally recognized notable service in the war. In 1963 President John F. Kennedy reintroduced it as an honor for distinguished civilian service in peacetime.

Other recipients of this year's award include Van Cliburn, Julia Child, Charlton Heston and Václav Havel. Click here to read The White House news statement about all of the honorees of this year's Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Contact Information

Media Relations, (310) 206-7707 , media.relations@anderson.ucla.edu

Media Relations