Lawyers Menaka Guruswamy and Arundhati Katju are the 2023 recipients of the Medal in Law. In 2018, they won a landmark case before India’s Supreme Court that struck down a 157-year-old law that made gay sex illegal. The pair, who have become heroes of the LGBTQ community in their country, are currently spearheading a marriage equality case to be heard by the Supreme Court of India this spring.
Medals to be Awarded April 13 at UVA
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.
“The Thomas Jefferson Foundation Medals are a highlight of Founder’s Day, and this year’s recipients reflect the spirit and service mission of our founder,” UVA President Jim Ryan said. “From an architect whose innovations better serve our communities, to a writer and journalist whose courage has inspired us all, to practitioners of the law who advocate for freedom and justice in the world’s largest democracy, these deserving winners have furthered human progress and exemplify the ideals of this University.”
The awards are presented annually in observance of Jefferson’s birthday, April 13 – known locally as Founder’s Day – by the president of the University and the president of the Thomas Jefferson Foundation, the independent, nonprofit organization that owns and operates Jefferson’s home, Monticello. This year’s celebrations mark the 280th anniversary of Jefferson’s birth.
“Thomas Jefferson wrote in 1803 that ‘some … are born for the public. Nature by fitting them for the service of the human race on a broad scale, has stamped them with the evidences of her destination and their duty,’” said Leslie Greene Bowman, president of the Thomas Jefferson Foundation. “This year’s medalists may hail from different parts of the globe and work toward different objectives, yet they share this common sense of duty and devotion to principled leadership. We are honored to recognize their significant accomplishments.”
Bowman and Ryan will present the medals, struck for the occasion, at a luncheon on April 13 in the Rotunda Dome Room at UVA. Medalists will be honored at a formal dinner at Monticello the prior evening.