Thomas Jefferson Foundation Medal ObverseFOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – July 6, 2015

Media Contacts:
Sophie Zunz
Director of Media Relations
Darden School of Business
University of Virginia

Mia Magruder
Marketing & Communications
Thomas Jefferson Foundation (Monticello)

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA—The University of Virginia Board of Visitors and the Thomas Jefferson Foundation at Monticello announce the Thomas Jefferson Foundation Medal in Global Innovation, which will be hosted by the University of Virginia Darden School of Business.  

The Thomas Jefferson Foundation Medal in Global Innovation will be the fourth award named in honor of the Thomas Jefferson Foundation, the independent, nonprofit organization that owns and operates his home, Monticello. It will join medals jointly awarded by the University and the Foundation in architecture, law and citizen leadership. The medals, struck for the occasion, are the highest external honors conferred by the University of Virginia, which awards no honorary degrees, at Mr. Jefferson’s behest.

Previous medal recipients have included I.M. Pei, Frank Gehry, Sandra Day O’Connor and John Lewis.

The Thomas Jefferson Foundation Medal in Global Innovation will recognize an individual for his or her role in guiding a significant global innovation that creates value for humanity. The award will honor responsible leaders who extend Jefferson’s commitment to global commerce and the creation and commercialization of inventions and ideas that improve society.

The awards are presented annually on Jefferson’s birthday, April 13, by the president of the University of Virginia, and by the president of the Thomas Jefferson Foundation. “This medal will make an important statement about the commitment of the Thomas Jefferson Foundation and the University of Virginia Darden School of Business to broaden awareness of Jefferson’s legacy and to celebrate the role of innovation in improving our lives,” said Leslie Greene Bowman, president and CEO of the Thomas Jefferson Foundation, who recently announced the medal with Locke Ogens, senior executive director of the Darden School Foundation and Strategic Relations, in Shanghai, China, at Darden’s annual Global Leadership Forum. “The global innovation medal will recognize someone who is truly making a difference in the world.”

“Thomas Jefferson is the father of innovation and progress in America,” said Ogens, “Jefferson relentlessly pursued knowledge for the benefit of society. He famously said, ‘I like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past.’”

The recipient will be selected by a committee chaired by the dean of the Darden School. Scott Beardsley, who will take office August 1 as Darden’s ninth dean, will convene the inaugural committee. Honorees will receive the medal in Jefferson’s historic Rotunda at the heart of the University’s Academical Village and will be celebrated at a formal dinner inside his home, Monticello — both UNESCO World Heritage sites. A special recognition event will also take place in the medalist’s home country or region.

The first Thomas Jefferson Foundation Medal in Global Innovation will be conferred in 2016.


About the University of Virginia Darden School of Business
The University of Virginia Darden School of Business delivers the world’s best business education experience to prepare entrepreneurial, global and responsible leaders through its MBA, Ph.D. and Executive Education programs. Darden’s top-ranked faculty is renowned for teaching excellence and advances practical business knowledge through research. Darden was established in 1955 at the University of Virginia, a top public university founded by Thomas Jefferson in 1819 in Charlottesville, Virginia.

About the Thomas Jefferson Foundation at Monticello
The Thomas Jefferson Foundation was incorporated in 1923 to preserve Monticello, the home of Thomas Jefferson, in Charlottesville, Virginia. Today, the foundation seeks to engage a national and global audience in a dialogue with Jefferson’s ideas. Monticello is recognized as a National Historic Landmark and a United Nations World Heritage Site. As a private, nonprofit organization, the foundation’s regular operating budget does not receive ongoing government support to fund its twofold mission of preservation and education. About 440,000 people visit Monticello each year. For information, visit