Mr. and Mrs. Estefan Go to Washington

Photo by Omar Cruz
By UM News

Photo by Omar Cruz

Mr. and Mrs. Estefan Go to Washington

By UM News
Miami Sound Machine Power Couple to Receive Presidential Medal of Freedom in White House Ceremony Tuesday.

When the red carpet rolls out for the Presidential Medal of Freedom ceremony this Tuesday, November 24, at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, two very special Miami Hurricanes will be there to receive the nation’s highest civilian honor.

Board of Trustees member Gloria Estefan, a 1978 graduate of the College of Arts and Sciences who received an honorary Doctor of Music degree in 1993, and her husband, producer Emilio Estefan, who also received an honorary Doctor of Music degree from UM, are among 17 American icons President Obama selected to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom, which is presented to those who have made especially meritorious contributions to the security or national interests of the United States, to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.

“From public servants who helped us meet defining challenges of our time to artists who expanded our imaginations, from leaders who have made our union more perfect to athletes who have inspired millions of fans, these men and women have enriched our lives and helped define our shared experience as Americans,” Obama said of the distinguished Class of 2015, which also includes baseball greats Willie Mays and the late Yogi Berra, American space history pioneer Katherine G. Johnson, and entertainment giants Barbra Streisand and Stephen Spielberg, among other awe-inspiring honorees.

Described by the White House as “a passionate and visionary music producer, entrepreneur, author, and songwriter,” Emilio Estefan has won 19 Grammy Awards and influenced a generation of artists. As the founding member of the Miami Sound Machine, and later through a decades-long career producing and shaping the work of numerous stars, he helped popularize Latin music around the world. He has a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Songwriters Hall of Fame. 

One of the first mainstream Hispanic artists to cross over between English and Spanish language music, Gloria Estefan introduced Latin music to a global audience and paved the way for countless other performers. The Cuban-American lead singer of the Miami Sound Machine has had chart-topping hits such as “Conga,” “Rhythm Is Gonna Get You,” and “Anything for You.” She has won seven Grammy Awards and is one of the best-selling music artists of all time, having achieved sales of more than 100 million records worldwide and 38 No. 1 songs across the Billboard charts. She is also a noted songwriter, actor, entrepreneur, humanitarian, and best-selling author of children’s books.

Both Estefans are inductees of the Latin Songwriters Hall of Fame and recipients of the Ellis Island Medal of Honor. Their latest project together, a biomusical called On Your Feet!, is currently on Broadway. Music from their show, along with an appearance by Gloria, will be part of a Thanksgiving Day “Broadway at the White House” special, slated to air 8 p.m. Eastern Time on November 26 on the TLC network.

Learn more about the 2015 Presidential Medal of Freedom recipients.