Each year on Thomas Jefferson’s birthday – April 13, known locally as “Founder’s Day” – the University of Virginia and the Thomas Jefferson Foundation at Monticello present their highest honors, the Thomas Jefferson Foundation Medals. The University also plants a tree to honor an individual who has made a significant contribution to U.Va. This year, April 13 falls on a weekend, so Founder’s Day activities will be celebrated Friday.
The 2014 Thomas Jefferson Foundation Medals in Architecture, Law and Citizen Leadership, will be presented to, respectively:
- Toyo Ito, a Tokyo-based architect who combines conceptual innovation with superbly executed buildings, as in his masterpiece, the Sendai, Japan Mediatheque, which reimagines what a public museum and library should be in the digital age.
- Kenneth R. Feinberg, an attorney who has administered the compensation funds for victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the 2007 shootings at Virginia Tech and the Boston Marathon bombings.
- James H. Webb Jr., a former U.S. Senator (D-Va.) and Secretary of the Navy, decorated Vietnam War veteran and successful author, journalist and filmmaker.
The Thomas Jefferson Foundation Medals recognize the achievements of those who embrace endeavors in which Jefferson, the founder of the University, author of the Declaration of Independence and third U.S. president, excelled and held in high regard.
Leslie Greene Bowman, president and CEO of the Thomas Jefferson Foundation, the independent, nonprofit organization that owns and operates Jefferson’s home, Monticello, and U.Va. President Teresa A. Sullivan will present the medals, struck for the occasion, in the Rotunda Dome Room on Friday at 1:30 p.m., in a public ceremony immediately following a private luncheon. The recipients will be honored Thursday at a private dinner at Monticello, and each will give a free public talk at U.Va.
Webb will also be the featured speaker at Monticello’s commemoration of Jefferson’s 271st birthday, on Friday at 10 a.m. on the West Lawn of Monticello. The celebration is free and open to the public.
Biographies of each winner are available here.
The School of Architecture will host a translated public talk by Ito on Friday at 3:30 p.m. in Old Cabell Hall Auditorium.
The School of Law will host a public talk by Feinberg on Friday at 10 a.m. in the Caplin Pavilion.
The Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy will host a public talk by Webb on Thursday at 12:30 p.m. in the Great Hall of Garrett Hall.
This year, the Founder’s Day tree planting will pay tribute to Jay Klingel, who recently retired after a 35-year career in Facilities Management, including 10 years as director of operations and maintenance.
That ceremony will take place Friday at 11 a.m. on the west side of the Lawn between Pavilions III and V, where a “Legacy” sugar maple will be planted. The event is free and open to the public; parking will be available in the Culbreth Road Garage.