Founder's Day

Founder's Day

  • The Thomas Jefferson Foundation Medal in Architecture, Medal in Law, and Medal in Citizen Leadership

  • The presentation of the Thomas Jefferson Foundation Medals.

  • The 2014 Founder's Day Tree Planting Ceremony honoree, Jay Klingel.

April 13, 2016

This institution [the University of Virginia] will be based on the illimitable freedom of the human mind." –Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson’s birthday, April 13, has been celebrated at the University of Virginia since the University’s first academic session.

On Founder’s Day, UVA and the Thomas Jefferson Foundation, the private, nonprofit corporation that has owned and operated Monticello since 1923, join together to present the Thomas Jefferson Foundation Medals to recognize enduring contributions in three fields that Jefferson held in high regard -- architecture, law, and citizen leadership. These 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.

While on Grounds, the recipient of the Thomas Jefferson Foundation Medal in Architecture, Medal in Law, and Medal in Citizen Leadership will give a public talk in their field of expertise. 

In addition to the presentation of the Thomas Jefferson Foundation Medals, UVA plants a tree in celebration of an individual who has made a significant contribution to the University.

The names of the Thomas Jefferson Foundation Medalists, the honoree of the tree planting, and the complete schedule of events will be announced in February 2016.