César Estrada Chávez, Senator Robert F. Kennedy noted, was “one
of the heroic figures of our time.”
A true American hero, Chávez was a civil rights, Latino, farm
worker, and labor leader; a religious and spiritual figure; a
community servant and social entrepreneur; a crusader for
nonviolent social change; and an environmentalist and consumer
A second-generation American, Chávez was born on March 31, 1927,
near his family’s farm in Yuma, Arizona. At age 10, his family
became migrant farm workers after losing their farm in the Great
During a 43-year Hollywood career, which spanned the development
of the motion picture medium as a modern American art, Walter
Elias Disney, a modern Aesop, established himself and his product
as a genuine part of Americana.
When 10-year-old Amelia Mary Earhart saw her first plane at a
state fair, she was not impressed. “It was a thing of rusty wire
and wood and looked not at all interesting,” she said. It wasn’t
until Earhart attended a stunt-flying exhibition, almost a decade
later, that she became seriously interested in aviation. A pilot
spotted Earhart and her friend, who were watching from an
isolated clearing, and dove at them. “I am sure he said to
himself, ‘Watch me make them scamper,’” she said. Earhart, who
felt a mixture of fear and pleasure, stood her ground.
Clint Eastwood is the consummate filmmaker. His career spans four
decades and has touched generations of moviegoers. He is one of
the most prolific, versatile artists in the history of the
medium, involving himself first as an actor, then as a director
and producer. Eastwood’s remarkable achievements have been fueled
by his enormous box-office appeal and likewise reflected in the
recognition he has received. His respect within the film industry
is matched only by his appreciation from the public at large. His
ongoing body of work is without peer.
Raised in Toronto, Canada, Frank Gehry moved with his family to
Los Angeles in 1947. Mr. Gehry received his Bachelor of
Architecture degree from the University of Southern California in
1954, and he studied City Planning at the Harvard University
Graduate School of Design. Mr. Gehry has built an architectural
career that has spanned four decades and produced public and
private buildings in America, Europe and Asia. In an article
published in The New York Times in November, 1989, noted
architecture critic Paul Goldberger wrote that Mr.
William Randolph Hearst, the man behind Hearst Castle, is an
important figure from the twentieth century whose influence
extended to publishing, politics, Hollywood, the art world and
everyday American life. His power and vision allowed him to
pursue one of the most ambitious architectural endeavors in
American history, the result of which can be seen in magnificent
grounds and structures of Hearst Castle.
Mr. Hearst was born on April 29, 1863, in San Francisco,
California, as the only child of George and Phoebe Hearst.
David D. Ho, M.D. is the founding Scientific Director and Chief
Executive Officer of the Aaron Diamond AIDS Research Center, a
world-renowned biomedical research institute. He is also the
Irene Diamond Professor at The Rockefeller University.
Dr. Ho received his degrees from California Institute of
Technology (1974) and Harvard Medical School (1978).
As one of the 20th century’s most respected women, Billie Jean
King has long been a champion for social change and equality.
King created new inroads for women in and out of sports during
her legendary career and she continues to make her mark today.
John Muir – farmer, inventor, sheepherder, naturalist, explorer,
writer, and conservationist – was born on April 21, 1838 in
Dunbar, Scotland. Until the age of eleven he attended the local
schools of that small coastal town. In 1849, the Muir family
emigrated to the United States, settling first at Fountain Lake
and then moving to Hickory Hill Farm near Portage, Wisconsin.
Muir’s father was a harsh disciplinarian and worked his family
from dawn to dusk.
In 1939, Dave Packard and Bill Hewlett founded Hewlett Packard,
one of the century’s most admired companies. The famous “HP Way”
was based on the idea that people gain satisfaction and
motivation from working in an environment where they can
accomplish something worthwhile and receive recognition for it.
Ronald Wilson Reagan was born February 6, 1911, in Tampico,
Illinois, the son of Nelle Wilson Reagan and John Reagan. He was
educated in Illinois public schools and graduated from Eureka
College in 1932, with a degree in economics and sociology.
Following a brief career as a sports broadcaster and editor,
President Reagan moved to California to work in motion pictures.
His film career, interrupted by three years of service in the
Army Air Corps during World War II, encompassed 53 feature-length
Born and raised in Los Angeles, California, Dr. Sally Ride is the
first American woman to fly in outer space. An accomplished
astronaut, physicist, professor and author, she has cumulatively
spent more then 343 hours in space.
A nationally ranked tennis player, Ride joined NASA in 1978 as
part of the first astronaut class to accept women. As part of her
training she was the Capsule Communicator (CapCom) for the second
and third Space Shuttle flights (STS-2 and STS-3) and helped
develop the Space Shuttle’s robot arm.
Alice Walker won the Pulitzer Prize and the American Book Award
for her third novel, The Color Purple, which was made
into an internationally popular film and is now a Broadway
musical. Her other best-selling novels, which have been
translated into more than two dozen languages, include By the
Light of My Father’s Smile, Possessing the Secret of
Joy, and The Temple of My Familiar. Her most recent
fiction work, Now is the Time to Open Your Heart was
published in 2004.