On April 13, the University of Virginia and the Thomas Jefferson Foundation at Monticello will present their highest honors, the 2017 Thomas Jefferson Foundation Medals in Law, Citizen Leadership, Global Innovation and Architecture, respectively, to:
- Loretta Lynch, the first African-American female attorney general in U.S. history, known for her impressive career prosecuting cases involving narcotics, violent crimes, public corruption and civil rights. More.
- Citizen Leadership: Alice Waters, founder of the Edible Schoolyard Project, chef, author, food activist, founder and owner of Chez Panisse Restaurant in Berkeley, California, who has championed local, sustainable agriculture for more than four decades. More.
- Global Innovation: N.R. Narayana Murthy, Indian entrepreneur and visionary leader who founded and grew Infosys into an information technology powerhouse through the design and implementation of the global delivery model for outsourcing services. More.
- Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara, Irish founders and directors of Grafton Architects, renowned for their creative and visionary academic and educational buildings. More.
The Thomas Jefferson Foundation Medals recognize the exemplary contributions of recipients to the endeavors in which Jefferson – the author of the Declaration of Independence, the third U.S. president and the founder of the University of Virginia – excelled and held in high regard.
“This year’s medal recipients represent a remarkably broad range of human endeavor. The common denominator is that all of them have ascended to significantly high levels of achievement in their respective fields,” said UVA President Teresa Sullivan.
The medals are the highest external honors bestowed by the University, which grants no honorary degrees. The awards are presented annually on Jefferson’s birthday, April 13, by the president of the University and the president of the Thomas Jefferson Foundation, the independent, nonprofit organization that owns and operates his home, Monticello. April 13 is known locally as Founders Day, celebrating Jefferson and his founding of UVA in Charlottesville in 1819.
“This year’s medalists embody Jefferson’s vision of global citizenship and his relentless dedication to human progress and innovation,” said Leslie Greene Bowman, president and CEO of the Thomas Jefferson Foundation.
Bowman and Sullivan will present the medals, struck for the occasion, to the recipients at a luncheon in in the Dome Room of the Jefferson-designed Rotunda at UVA. The medalists in Architecture, Law, Citizen Leadership and Global Innovation will each give a free public lecture at UVA, and will be honored at a formal dinner at Monticello.
The complete schedule of events for Founder’s Day can be found on the Founder's Day website.
The Citizen Leadership medalist, Alice Waters, will also be the featured keynote speaker at Monticello’s commemoration of Jefferson’s 274th birthday on April 13 at 10 a.m. on the West Lawn of Monticello. The celebration is free and open to the public. The ceremony will be live streamed online here.
This year’s medalists join a distinguished roster of past winners that includes architects Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, I.M. Pei, Frank Gehry, Toyo Ito and Zaha Hadid; seven former and current U.S. Supreme Court justices; former U.S. Secretary of State Warren Christopher; Marian Wright Edelman, founder of the Children’s Defense Fund; Wendy Kopp, founder of Teach for America; Alan Greenspan, former chairman of the Federal Reserve; former Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano; and several former and current U.S. senators and representatives, including John Lewis, John Warner, George Mitchell, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, Sam Nunn and James H. Webb Jr.