The award will be given at the Fourteenth Annual History Makers Award Dinner, to be held Friday, April 28, at the Westin Convention Center Hotel.
The selection commitee described Paterno's accomplishments as:
"Mr. Paterno is the second head coach of a major college to hold the post for 40 years at a single institution, and ranks second in career wins among major college coaches. Mr. Paterno balances his success as a coach by ensuring that his players devote sufficient time to their studies and graduate with meaningful degrees. He and his wife have shown their devotion to Penn State by donating more than $4 million to the university. One of Mr. Paterno's many distinctions is being the first active coach to receive the National Football Foundation and College Football Hall of Fame's Distinguished American Award."
Past winners of this honor include Sen. John Heinz III, Paul O'Neill, George Benson, Fred Rogers, Thomas Starzl, Elsie Hillman, John Edgar Wideman, August Wilson, K. Leroy Irvis, Henry Hillman, Joe Namath, Thomas Usher, Franco Harris, Dan Rooney, Martin McGuinn and Myron Cope, to name a few.