TJF medalist Peterson to speak at Monticello’s April 13 event

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA.—Peter G. Peterson will be the featured speaker at Monticello's commemoration of Jefferson's 268th birthday on April 13 at 10 a.m. on the West Lawn of Monticello. Peterson, who established his eponymous foundation in 2008 to advocate for fiscal reform in the U.S. will receive the Thomas Jefferson Foundation Medal in Citizen Leadership, one of the highest honors presented by U.Va. and the Thomas Jefferson Foundation.

Peterson is the 5th recipient of the Thomas Jefferson Foundation Medal in Citizen Leadership. He is the founder of the Peter G. Peterson Foundation, whose mission is to increase public awareness of the nature and urgency of key long-term fiscal challenges threatening America's future and to accelerate action on them, and he supports other charitable activities.

In 1971, President Nixon named him assistant to the president for international economic affairs. One year later, he was named U.S. secretary of commerce. Peterson was chairman and CEO of Lehman Brothers and its successor company, Lehman Brothers, Kuhn and Loeb, from 1973 to 1984. In 1985, he co-founded the private equity and investment management firm, the Blackstone Group, and was for many years its chairman. From 2000 to 2004, he chaired the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

He is the author of five books, including "Running on Empty: How the Democratic and Republican Parties are Bankrupting Our Future and What Americans Can Do About It" (2004) and his recently published memoir, "The Education of an American Dreamer: How a Son of Greek Immigrants Learned His Way from a Nebraska Diner to Washington, Wall Street and Beyond."

The music at the Monticello event will be provided by the Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps, part of the 3rd U.S. Infantry stationed at Fort Meyer, Va. The unit’s members wear uniforms patterned after those worn by musicians in the Continental Army circa 1781 and play 10-hole fifes, rope-tensioned drums, and single-valve bugles to re-create the sounds of the Revolutionary War era.

Wreaths honoring Jefferson will be presented by representatives of local, state, and national institutions and organizations. The wreaths will be placed at Jefferson’s gravesite following the West Lawn ceremony.

The 21-gun salute will be fired by members of American Legion Post 74 of Charlottesville-Albemarle County. The Monticello High School ROTC will be the color guard at the event.

Jefferson was born in 1743 at Shadwell, his father’s estate on the Rivanna River about two miles east of Monticello. On the Julian calendar employed at the time, Jefferson was born April 2. The Gregorian calendar in use today was adopted in 1752, and 11 days were added to “old style” dates.

Monticello’s commemoration of Jefferson’s birth is free and open to the public. Visitors coming to Monticello expressly for the ceremony should identify themselves at the ticket counter in the Dominion Welcome Pavilion at the Thomas Jefferson Visitor Center, where they will be given directions to the event. Paid admission tickets will be required for the guided house tours.

Following the Monticello event, Peterson will be honored at the University of Virginia, part of the school’s Founder’s Day activities. The Batten School will host a talk by Peter G. Peterson April 12 at 4 p.m. at the UVA Chapel. (Note: previously was listed at being at held at "Jefferson Hall (Hotel C) in the Academical Village.")

The Thomas Jefferson Foundation Medals are presented jointly each year by UVa and the Thomas Jefferson Foundation, the private, nonprofit organization that owns and operates Monticello. The medals are the highest external honors bestowed by the university, which grants no honorary degrees.

Contact Lisa Stites at 434-984-7529.

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The Thomas Jefferson Foundation owns and operates Monticello, the mountaintop home of Thomas Jefferson. As a private, nonprofit organization, the Foundation receives no regular federal or state budget support for its twofold mission of preservation and education. About 450,000 people visit Monticello each year. For information, visit www.monticello.org.

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