Open Today – 8:30AM - 5:30PM

Starts at 10 a.m. (gates open at 8:30 a.m.)

Each year Monticello and the University of Virginia recognize and honor revolutionary leaders with the Thomas Jefferson Foundation Medals. Guests gather at Jefferson’s gravesite and the West Lawn of Monticello to commemorate Jefferson's birthday and learn more about how his ideas have continued relevance today.

Join us this year on April 12th as we mark the 281st anniversary of Thomas Jefferson’s birth on Monticello's iconic West Lawn. The mountaintop will open to guests at 8:30am and the ceremony begins at 10am.

This event is free, but registration is required »

Can't make it in person? The ceremony and keynote speaker's remarks will be livestreamed on Facebook, YouTube, and this webpage. 

Watch the Recording of 2024's Ceremony

Event Details

Founder's Day will feature keynote remarks by our Citizen Leadership Medalist, Julieanna L. Richardson, musical performances by the U.S. Army Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps, local organizations showcasing their work in our Partner Tent, and birthday cupcakes! The ceremony will also include the presentation of the 2024 Citizen Service Award to Dr. Andrea Douglas on behalf of the Jefferson School African American Heritage Center in Charlottesville.

Ahead of the West Lawn celebration, wreaths will be presented and laid at Jefferson’s gravesite during a ceremony featuring a presidential wreath laying escorted by a wreath bearer from the 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard).

About the Speaker

Julieanna L. Richardson headshot

Julieanna L. Richardson is the founder and president of The HistoryMakers, a national non-profit educational institution that has curated, presented and preserved on video the histories of thousands of African Americans. The Chicago-based organization describes itself as “the digital repository for the Black experience” and serves as a unique resource for students and educators from kindergarten through college along with the media and other disciplines.

The project, founded in 2000, is an outgrowth of Richardson’s experience in theater, television production, and the cable news industry. She is a graduate of Brandeis University where she majored in Theater Arts and American Studies, and chronicled the oral history of the Harlem Renaissance and, later, poet-writer Langston Hughes. She is also a 1980 graduate of Harvard Law School. Richardson is the 2021 recipient of the Chicago History Museum’s John Hope Franklin Making History Award, an honor recognizing Chicagoans who have improved the city and its culture.

Thomas Jefferson Foundation Medals

These awards recognize the achievements of revolutionary leaders who showcase excellence in areas that Jefferson held in high regard - Architecture, Citizen Leadership, Global Innovation, and Law - and are the highest external honors bestowed by the University of Virginia, which grants no honorary degrees.

To learn more about the Thomas Jefferson Foundation Medals and to see a list of past recipients, visit our website here »

On-Site Event Details

US Army's The Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps

Enjoy colonial music on the West Lawn before and after the ceremony.


Wreath Ceremony

Join us at the Monticello Graveyard at 9 a.m. for a special wreath-laying ceremony in honor of Thomas Jefferson's 281st birthday.


Visit Our Community Partner Tent

Meet the organizations making a difference in our community. Stop by our Partner Tent before or after the ceremony to make useful contacts make useful and further the dialogue on civic engagement and citizen leadership. Hours of operation: 8:30am-11:30am.

Logos of partner tent participants

Albemarle Charlottesville Historical Society

Albemarle County Office of Equity & Inclusion

Charlottesville Albemarle Convention and Visitors Bureau

The Charlottesville Band

Charlottesville City Office of Voter Registration and Elections

Charlottesville Tomorrow

James Madison's Montpelier

James Monroe's Highland

International Rescue Committee 

League of Women Voters of the Charlottesville Area 

National Society Daughters of the American Revolution
Albemarle Chapter
Jack Jouett Chapter

Poplar Forest 

Tom Tom Festival

University of Virginia Center for Politics

University of Virginia Karsh Institute of Democracy 

Monticello Departments and Projects
Archeology Department
Center for Historic Plants
Getting Word African American Oral History Project
Human Resources
Jefferson Library