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UVA, Monticello Announce Recipients of 2024 Thomas Jefferson Foundation Medals

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Virginia, — On April 12, the University of Virginia and the Thomas Jefferson Foundation at Monticello will present their highest honors, the 2024 Thomas Jefferson Foundation Medals, to a trio of national and international luminaries in the areas of Architecture, Citizen Leadership and Law. This year’s awardees are:

Kate Orff headshot
  • Architecture: A UVA alumna and nationally recognized expert in landscape architecture, urban design and climate adaptation, Kate Orff has spent her career understanding how landscape architecture can aid and enhance areas being reshaped by a warming planet and rising seas. In 2007, she founded SCAPE, a landscape architecture and urban design studio firm in New York that employs more than 80 individuals who design parks, waterfronts, greenways and streetscapes, with a focus on ecological restoration and social engagement. Among her best-known works are the Living Breakwaters on the South Shore of Staten Island, created after Superstorm Sandy. The project is often heralded as a model for climate adaptation in vulnerable areas. Orff has been named a MacArthur Foundation “Genius” Fellow and was included in Time magazine’s list of the 100 most influential people in 2023.
Julieanna L. Richardson headshot
  • Citizen Leadership: 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.
Roger L. Gregory headshot
  • Law: The Honorable Roger L. Gregory was a fire-scarred baby with “rickety legs” and asthma when he was adopted by Virginia tobacco workers. He grew up to become the first Black judge to serve on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. He joined the majority in 2014 in Bostic v. Schaefer, which declared Virginia’s ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional. Before joining the bench, Gregory co-founded the Richmond law firm of Wilder & Gregory in 1982 with future Virginia Gov. L. Douglas Wilder. He has served on numerous associations and boards in law, government and philanthropy. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Virginia State University and his law degree from the University of Michigan School of Law.

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.

“I am delighted to honor this year’s Thomas Jefferson Foundation Medal recipients, who each exemplify the spirit of innovation and commitment to lifelong learning that marked Jefferson’s life,” UVA President Jim Ryan said. “Their contributions, whether creating spaces that can adapt as our climate changes, preserving and sharing history, or making our laws more equitable and just, have changed our world for the better.”

The awards will be presented on April 12, a day before Thomas Jefferson’s April 13 birthday – 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 281st anniversary of Jefferson’s birth. The medals will be presented during a luncheon in Rotunda Dome Room at UVA. Medalists will be honored at a formal dinner at Monticello the prior evening.

“In 1785, Thomas Jefferson wrote that ‘honesty, knowledge and industry’ were the habits of mind, and of character, that should earn the new nation’s ‘highest esteem,’” said Jane Kamensky, president of the Thomas Jefferson Foundation. “We are honored to welcome the 2024 Thomas Jefferson Foundation Medalists, who have demonstrated these qualities through their remarkable careers and contributions. This year’s winners have broken barriers in our nation’s legal system, spearheaded architectural efforts to address climate change, and founded the largest effort to record and preserve the African American experience in nearly a century.”

Gregory will speak April 11 at 1:30 p.m. in the School of Law’s Caplin Pavilion. Orff will speak on April 12 at 3:30 p.m. in Old Cabell Hall’s auditorium. Richardson’s speaking schedule is still being determined.

All of the talks are free and open to the public.

The complete schedule of Founder’s Day events and details about how to attend the talks in person or view their livestreams can be found on the Founder’s Day Page of UVA’s Major Events website.

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 bring history forward into national and global dialogues by engaging audiences with Jefferson’s world and ideas and inviting them to experience the power of place at Monticello. Monticello is recognized as a National Historic Landmark, a United Nations World Heritage Site and a Site of Conscience. 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. For information, visit

About the University of Virginia

Founded by Thomas Jefferson in 1819, the University of Virginia sustains the ideal of developing, through education, leaders who are well-prepared to help shape the future of the nation and the world. The University is public, while nourished by the strong support of its alumni. It is also selective; the students who come here have been chosen because they show the exceptional promise Jefferson envisioned.

Photos available on request.