Thomas Jefferson Foundation MedalThe University of Virginia and the Thomas Jefferson Foundation at Monticello will present their highest honors, the Thomas Jefferson Foundation Medals in Architecture, Law, and Citizen Leadership during their joint Founder's Day activities.

The awards are presented jointly by UVA, which he founded in Charlottesville in 1819, and by the Foundation, the independent, nonprofit organization that owns and operates his home, Monticello.

The 2019 recipients were:

Architecture: Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa, co-founders of the Tokyo-based firm SANAA whose major projects span the globe from Tokyo to Paris and Milan;


Citizen Leadership: Sylvia Earle, an oceanographer, explorer, author and lecturer dubbed a Living Legend by the Library of Congress;


Law: Carlton W. Reeves, a federal judge on the United States District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi is the second African-American appointed to a federal judgeship in Mississippi, following a nomination by President Barack Obama in 2010.

The Thomas Jefferson Foundation Medals are the highest external honors bestowed by the University, which grants no honorary degrees. They recognize achievements of those who embrace endeavors in which Jefferson, author of the Declaration of Independence and third U.S. president, excelled and held in high regard.

2019 Founders Day Events

Sylvia Earle will be the featured speaker at Monticello's commemoration of Jefferson's 276th birthday, on April 12 at 10 a.m. on the West Lawn of Monticello with a pre-ceremony performance beginning at 9:45 a.m. The celebration is free and open to the public and will be live streamed at

The UVA School of Law will host a public talk by Judge Reeves on April 11 at 2:15 p.m. in the Caplin Auditorium at the Law School.  

The UVA School of Architecture will host a public talk by Sejima and Nishizawa on April 12 at 3 p.m. in UVA's Old Cabell Hall Auditorium.