Founder's Day

Founder's Day

April 13, 2017

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 achievements of those who embrace endeavors in which Jefferson, author of the Declaration of Independence and third U.S. president, held in high regard -- architecture, law, citizen leadership, and new this year, global innovation.  Additionally, the University also plants a tree in celebration of a member of the UVA community who has made significant, lasting contributions to University life.

The names of the 2017 Thomas Jefferson Foundation Medalists will be announced in March, so stay tuned!

In addition to a formal dinner at Monticello, the medalists will be recognized at a luncheon in the Dome Room of the Rotunda. It is at this luncheon where Terry Sullivan, president of UVA, and Leslie Greene Bowman, president and CEO of the Thomas Jefferson Foundation, will present this year's medalists with UVA's highest external honor, the Thomas Jefferson Foundation Medals. While on Grounds, the medalists in Architecture, Law, Citizen Leadership, and Global Innovation will also give a lecture in their field of expertise (schedule is forthcoming). The lectures are free and open to the public.