University of Virginia's 2009 Thomas Jefferson Foundation Medals Go to Artist, Diplomat and Innocence Project Co-Founders

March 16, 2009 — The University of Virginia will present its highest honors, the Thomas Jefferson Medals in Architecture, Citizen Leadership and Law, during Founder's Day Activities April 14. The awards are presented jointly with the Thomas Jefferson Foundation, the nonprofit organization that owns and operates Monticello.

• Robert Irwin, an American artist, will receive the 2009 Thomas Jefferson Foundation Medal in Architecture.

• Warren M. Christopher, former secretary of state during the Clinton Administration, will receive the 2009 Thomas Jefferson Foundation Medal in Citizen Leadership.

• Barry C. Scheck and Peter J. Neufeld, co-founders of the Innocence Project, will receive the 2009 Thomas Jefferson Foundation Medal in Law.
The Thomas Jefferson Medals are the highest external honors bestowed by the University, which grants no honorary degrees. They recognize achievements of those who embrace endeavors that Jefferson, author of the Declaration of Independence, third U.S. president and U.Va. founder, excelled in and held in high regard.

The medals, struck for the occasion, will be presented on Jefferson's April 13 birthday during an invitation-only Founder's Day lunch in the Rotunda. Honorees will also dine at Monticello.

Thomas Jefferson Medal in Architecture: Robert Irwin

Robert Irwin, American artist of light and space, will receive the Thomas Jefferson Foundation Medal in Architecture.

"We are so pleased to be able to honor Robert Irwin for his legendary work and his profound influence on the fields of architecture, landscape architecture and art," said Karen Van Lengen, dean of U.Va.'s School of Architecture. "We look forward to sharing this celebration with our friends in Studio Art, who have just returned to their new home next to the School of Architecture."

Irwin will give a public talk April 14 at 3 p.m. in Old Cabell Hall Auditorium.

He was born in Long Beach, Calif., in 1928, and studied at the Otis Art Institute, Jepson Art Institute and Chinouard Art Institute. He began as a painter and held his first solo exhibition in 1957.

In the 1970s Irwin left studio work to pursue installation art that dealt directly with the basis of visual perception, in both outdoor and modified interior sites. Irwin's work, including paintings and installations, is exhibited widely in galleries and museums in the U.S. and internationally, including the Museum of Modern Art, the Smithsonian American Art Museum and The Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, to name a few.

In 1984, Irwin received a MacArthur Fellowship.

In 1993, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles initiated a major retrospective of his work, which subsequently traveled to Paris, Madrid and Cologne.

Among his numerous celebrated public projects is "Two Running Violet V Forms" (1983) installed in a eucalyptus grove on the campus of the University of California, San Diego. His largest project to date is the 134,000-square-foot "Central Garden" at the Getty Center in Los Angeles, which opened in 1997. Also in 1997, Irwin consulted on the master plan for Dia:Beacon, a contemporary art museum in Beacon, N.Y., designing the landscaping of the outdoor spaces, the entrance building and the window design. In 2004, the Guggenheim in New York gave over the entirety of one of its long rectangular off-ramp side galleries to a reprise of Irwin's 1974 Soft Wall Pace Gallery installation.

Former recipients of the Thomas Jefferson Foundation Medal in Architecture, created in 1966 to recognize outstanding achievement in design or distinguished contributions in the field of architecture, include Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Alvar Aalto, Marcel Breuer, Lewis Mumford, Vincent Scully, Dan Kiley, Jane Jacobs, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, Glenn Murcutt, James Turrell, Zaha Hadid and Gro Harlem Brundtland.

Thomas Jefferson Medal in Citizen Leadership: Warren M. Christopher

Former Secretary of State Warren M. Christopher will receive the third Thomas Jefferson Memorial Foundation Medal in Citizen Leadership, joining Alan Greenspan, the former chairman of the Federal Reserve, and former U.S. Sen. John Warner.

Christopher previously won the 1982 Thomas Jefferson Foundation Medal in Law.

Christopher served as the 63rd secretary of state under President Clinton from 1993 to 1997. He served as the deputy attorney general from 1967 to 1969, and as the deputy secretary of state from 1977 to 1981.

"Warren Christopher has lived his dedication to American democracy, from his military service during World War II through stewarding the nation's foreign policy as the 63rd secretary of state," said Gerald L. Baliles, former Virginia governor and director of U.Va.'s Miller Center of Public Affairs. "His passion for public service has transcended partisan politics, and his leadership as co-chair of the National War Powers Commission, as well as his work on other initiatives, has benefited not only the American people, but citizens of the world."

A 1981 recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, Christopher is senior partner at the law firm of O'Melveny & Myers LLP, where he was chairman from 1982 to 1992. He has served as president of the Board of Trustees of Stanford University, chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Carnegie Corporation of New York, and director and vice chairman of the Council on Foreign Relations.

He is currently co-chairman of the board of directors of the Pacific Council on International Policy.

Christopher earned his bachelor's degree from the University of Southern California. After serving as an ensign in the Navy in World War II in the Pacific Theater, he earned a law degree from Stanford, where he was president and a founder of the Stanford Law Review and named to the Order of the Coif.

After law school, Christopher served as law clerk to U.S. Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas.

Christopher, along with former Secretary of State James A. Baker III, is co-chairman of the National War Powers Commission, impaneled by the Miller Center in 2007.

After 13 months of study, the bipartisan commission's unanimous report[link to:], released in July 2008, recommended that Congress repeal the 1973 War Powers Resolution and replace it with the War Powers Consultation Act of 2009. The new statute would provide for better consultation between the President and Congress on matters of war.

A conversation between Christopher and Baliles take place on April 14 at 3 p.m. at the Miller Center. They will discuss "Public Service, Public Policy and the Changing World." A very limited number of seats are available to the public, with additional seating in the overflow area of the center.

Thomas Jefferson Medal in Law: Barry Scheck and Peter Neufeld

Barry C. Scheck and Peter J. Neufeld, co-founders of the Innocence Project, will be awarded the 2009 Thomas Jefferson Foundation Medal in Law.

"Nothing the legal system does is more important than adjudicating criminal guilt and innocence," said U.Va. Law School Dean Paul G. Mahoney. "Barry Scheck and Peter Neufeld have worked tirelessly to identify and remedy mistaken convictions and by so doing have served the interests not merely of their clients, but of justice."

Created in 1992 as a nonprofit legal clinic affiliated with Yeshiva University's Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law in New York City, the Innocence Project advocates for post-conviction DNA testing to exonerate the wrongfully convicted and pushes for other reforms that might prevent future wrongful convictions.

Post-conviction DNA testing has helped free more than 200 innocent people, 17 of whom had been sentenced to death. The Innocence Project today includes a network of clinics across the country, including one launched by the U.Va. Law School in 2008.

In addition to co-directing the Innocence Project, Neufeld and Scheck also have a civil rights litigation practice, Cochran Neufeld & Scheck, which has represented such high-profile clients as Abner Louima and Earl Washington.

Scheck, a law professor at Cardozo, serves as commissioner on the New York State Commission on Forensic Science, which regulates the state's crime and forensic DNA laboratories. He is also the first vice president of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, and a board member of the National Institute of Justice's Commission on the Future of DNA Evidence. 

He previously served as a member of the National Institute of Justice Commission on the Future of DNA Evidence (1997-2000), as an adviser for the Attorney General's Initiative on DNA Laboratory Backlogs (AGID-LAB), on the advisory board for the Celera Genetic Project to Identify Dead at the World Trade Center, and on the American Bar Association Special President's Commission on High Profile Trials (1995-97). 

Scheck has represented Hedda Nussbaum, Louie Simpson and O.J. Simpson. He received a J.D. and M.C.P. from the University of California at Berkeley in 1974 and a B.S. from Yale in 1971.

Neufeld also serves on the New York State Commission on Forensic Science. He is a member of the Board of Trustees for Montefiore Medical Center, the University Hospital and Academic Medical Center for the Albert Einstein College of Medicine.

A former trial advocacy instructor at Fordham University Law School, Neufeld has taught and published extensively on the intersection of science and law, including the proper use of expert witnesses.
Neufeld received his J.D. from New York University in 1975 and a B.A. from the University of Wisconsin in 1972. 

Neufeld and Scheck met while working at the Legal Aid Society in the Bronx. They are co-authors with Jim Dwyer of "Actual Innocence: Five Days to Execution and Other Dispatches from the Wrongly Convicted." Both attorneys have received numerous awards for their efforts on behalf of defending civil liberties and for their impact on criminal justice.

Previous recipients of the law medal include six U.S. Supreme Court justices, Sens. Sam Nunn and Edmund S. Muskie, and former Attorney General Griffin B. Bell.