I am responding to a letter by James Dale to the Times (May 19) titled "Freedom Medal," in which he suggested that Walter Annenberg received the Presidential Medal of Freedom because he was a friend of President Reagan and because "his lifetime of achievement" was "mostly being a past ambassador to Great Britain and for creating TV Guide magazine." I would like to set the record straight, not only for Mr. Dale but also for other readers who might have attached some credibility to his view.
Mr. Annenberg received the Medal of Freedom primarily because of his pioneering efforts in the use of television for educational purposes, most vividly seen in his commitment of $150 million to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. For his foresighted and generous leadership, Mr. Annenberg received the Alfred I. DuPont Award in 1950 and the Ralph Lowell Award in 1983.
In addition to these landmark activities, Mr. Annenberg, one of America's greatest philanthropists, has made possible the creation of Schools of Communication at the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Southern California, has made major contributions to the National Gallery of Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Mount Sinai School of Medicine and Medical Center in New York, and the Eisenhower Medical Center in Palm Springs, among countless other contributions. He must be counted as one of America's most distinguished citizens and a most deserving recipient of the Medal of Freedom on his own merits.
JAMES H. ZUMBERGE
Univ. of Southern California