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Thomas Jefferson Foundation Medalists

On April 13, the University of Virginia and the Thomas Jefferson Foundation at Monticello will present their highest honors, the 2022 Thomas Jefferson Foundation Medals in Architecture, Law, and Citizen Leadership, respectively, to:

  • Architecture: Kenneth Frampton, Ware Professor of Architecture at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, where he has taught since 1972. Frampton is considered one of the world’s foremost experts in modern architecture.
  • Law: Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer, a graduate of Stanford, Oxford and Harvard Law School. In 1994, he was appointed a Supreme Court Justice by President Bill Clinton. He will retire from the court at the end of the 2021-22 term.
  • Citizen Leadership: Sherrie Rollins Westin, president of Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit educational organization behind “Sesame Street.” Westin leads efforts to serve vulnerable children through mass media and targeted initiatives in the United States and around the world.

For a complete list of past recipients in each category, please click here.


Kenneth Frampton

Architect and historian Kenneth Frampton, the Emeritus Ware Professor of Architecture at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation, has been named the 2022 recipient of the Thomas Jefferson Foundation Medal in Architecture.

Frampton joins a distinguished list of past recipients of the Thomas Jefferson Foundation Medal in Architecture, including Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, I.M. Pei, Frank Gehry, Toyo Ito, Zaha Hadid and Sir David Adjaye.

“It is an honor to recognize Kenneth Frampton for his seminal contributions as an architect and historian,” UVA School of Architecture Dean Malo A. Hutson said. “His writings, centering the importance of context, place and culture, have had a leading influence on the study and practice of architecture over many generations. His adherence to a humanistic philosophy, and architecture’s role of service to society and its capacity to enrich people’s lives, could not align better with our University’s and the School of Architecture’s public mission.”

Frampton will give a public talk to mark the occasion on April 13 at 4.30 p.m. in the School of Architecture’s Campbell Hall lecture hall. Seating is limited and an RSVP is required.

Frampton was born in 1930 and trained as an architect in the Architectural Association School of Architecture in London. From 1959 to 1965, he was an associate of the architecture office of Douglas Stephen & Partners, one of the most progressive practices in London at the time. There, Frampton designed the notable project Corringham, a residential apartment complex in Central London. The building is one of the few post-war buildings to be listed on the National Heritage List for England, a unique register of the country’s most significant historic buildings and sites. It was identified as an “exceptionally important” structure and described by Historic England in its designation as “Douglas Stephen & Partners’ most coherent design of the period, and their most interesting.”

For three years in the early 1960s, Frampton worked as a technical editor for the magazine Architectural Design. In 1965, he moved to the United States to teach as a visiting professor at Princeton University, and since then, he has been active as a critic, historian and academic. Throughout his academic career, he has taught at numerous architecture schools, including the public research university of ETH Zurich, the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne, Switzerland; the Academy of Architecture in Mendrisio, Switzerland; and the Royal College of Art in London. For 48 years, from 1972 to 2020, he taught at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, where he currently is the Emeritus Ware Professor of Architecture.

Frampton has written extensively, and his numerous publications and essays gained him an international reputation as a leading scholar on modern architecture. His seminal writings include an essay, “Towards a Critical Regionalism: Six Points for an Architecture of Resistance”; and several books, most ntoably “Modern Architecture: A Critical History,” “Studies in Tectonic Culture: The Poetics of Construction in Nineteenth and Twentieth Century Architecture,” and “A Genealogy of Modern Architecture: Comparative Analysis of Built Form.” Along with architects Peter Eisenman and Mario Gandelsonas, Frampton was a founding editor of Oppositions, an architectural journal produced by the Institute for Architecture and Urban Studies from 1973 to 1984.

The Canadian Centre for Architecture holds Frampton’s archive. In 2017, it held an exhibition, “Educating Architects: Four Courses by Kenneth Frampton,” which examined aspects of his renowned teaching that informed his key publications. The exhibition, comprising drawings, models, photographs, proposals, papers, lectures, slideshows, essays, monographs, letters and autobiographical documents, highlighted how Frampton’s teaching methods and contributions were instrumental in shaping the discipline and profession of architecture.

For his significant contributions, Frampton has received many awards, including the American Institute of Architects’ National Honors Award, the Architectural League of New York’s Presidential Medal, and the Schelling Architecture Theory Prize. Upon receiving the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement in 2018, presented at the Venice Biennale for Architecture, Frampton was acknowledged by co-curators and recommenders Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara of Grafton Architects for his “extraordinary insight and intelligence combined with a unique sense of integrity. His consistent values in relation to the impact of architecture on society, together with his intellectual generosity, position him as a uniquely important presence in the world of architecture.”  In 2021, Queen Elizabeth II named Frampton a Commander of the Order of the British Empire for his extraordinary service to architecture.


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Stephen Breyer

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen G. Breyer has been named this year’s recipient of the Thomas Jefferson Foundation Medal in Law.

“As a former clerk to Justice Breyer, I’m thrilled to recognize him for his lifetime of service,” said Risa Goluboff, dean of the UVA School of Law, which selects the Medal in Law recipient. “His role as a consensus-builder on the court who also stands firm on his bedrock beliefs serves as a model for the legal profession. We are both honored and excited that he will return Charlottesville to share his wisdom with our community.”

The justice will participate in a public talk with Goluboff to mark the occasion on April 12 at 2 p.m. in the Law School’s Caplin Auditorium. (Bags, laptops, coats, beverages and food will not be permitted. Seating is first-come, first-served, with doors opening at 1 p.m. and an overflow room in Withers-Brown room 154. Members of the media should contact Director of Media Relations Mike Fox for press credentials. The event also will be livestreamed.)

Breyer announced Jan. 27 that he will retire when the 2021 Supreme Court term ends, capping a career that included serving in all three branches of the federal government and in academia.

President Bill Clinton nominated Breyer to be an associate justice of the Supreme Court on May 17, 1994, and Breyer assumed the role Aug. 3 of the same year.

From 1980 to 1994, Breyer served as a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, and as its chief judge starting in 1990. He was a clerk for Supreme Court Justice Arthur Goldberg for the 1964-65 term; special assistant to the assistant U.S. attorney general for antitrust from 1965 to 1967; assistant special prosecutor of the Watergate Special Prosecution Force in 1973; and special counsel of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee from 1974 to 1975.

Later, as chief counsel of the committee, from 1979-80, he worked closely with U.S. Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, a 1959 UVA School of Law graduate, to pass the Airline Deregulation Act.

Before becoming a judge, Breyer taught law for many years as a professor at Harvard Law School and at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.

Even after being appointed to the federal bench, Breyer continued his scholarship through his many books, including “The Authority of the Court and the Peril of Politics” (2021), “Making Our Democracy Work: A Judge’s View” (2010), “Active Liberty: Interpreting Our Democratic Constitution” (2005) and “Breaking the Vicious Circle: Toward Effective Risk Regulation” (1993).

In 2018, Breyer spoke at the Law School and shared themes from his 2015 book, “The Court and the World: American Law and the New Global Realities.” The book examines the work of the Supreme Court in decisions with global implications and promotes the value of understanding how the world at large makes law and legal decisions.

“To decide a lot of these things, you know, there is no Supreme Court of the World,” Breyer said. “What happens if other countries decide the same principle?”

Breyer is the ninth Supreme Court justice to receive the Thomas Jefferson Foundation Medal in Law since its inception in 1977.

He earned his LL.B. from Harvard Law School and bachelor’s degrees from Stanford University and Magdalen College, Oxford.

His former law clerks also include UVA Law professors Rachel Harmon and Daniel Ortiz, who discussed Breyer’s legacy at a Feb. 1 event with Goluboff and Judge Vince Chhabria of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. Chhabria is a UVA Law lecturer who also clerked for Breyer.


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Sherrie Rollins Westin

Sherrie Rollins Westin, president of Sesame Workshop and a 1980 graduate of the University of Virginia, has been named this year’s recipient of the Thomas Jefferson Foundation Medal in Citizen Leadership.

Westin’s leadership has extended to media, government and the nonprofit sector. As president of Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit educational organization behind the longtime children’s show, “Sesame Street,” Westin leads efforts to reach children and families around the world with critical early education through mass media and targeted initiatives.

She serves as Sesame Workshop’s chief mission ambassador, raising awareness, developing strategic partnerships and cultivating philanthropic support to further the organization’s mission to help children everywhere grow smarter, stronger and kinder.

“We are honored to recognize Ms. Westin with this year’s Medal in Citizen Leadership for her unwavering commitment to public service and improving the lives of others,” said Ian Solomon, dean of UVA’s Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy, which selects the Citizen Leadership Medalist. “Under her leadership, Sesame Workshop is helping children and families navigate the unprecedented disruption of the COVID-19 pandemic, fostering empathy and honest conversations about race and racism, and delivering critical early childhood support to millions of children affected by conflict and crisis.

“Through this work and so much more, Ms. Westin embodies the true meaning of citizen leadership.”

Westin has been named a “Leading Global Thinker” by Foreign Policy Magazine in 2016 and one of Fast Company’s “100 Most Creative People in Business” in 2017. She also was recognized with the Smithsonian’s 2017 “American Ingenuity Award.” A staunch advocate for addressing children’s needs, she regularly appears at forums and in major media outlets to highlight the value of investing in early childhood development, especially for the most vulnerable children.

Prior to her work with Sesame Workshop, Westin was assistant to the president for public liaison and intergovernmental affairs for President George H.W. Bush and assistant secretary for public affairs at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. She also held senior positions at the ABC Television Network and U.S. News & World Report. Westin earned her bachelor’s degree in communications from UVA and holds an honorary doctorate from Concordia College in New York.

Westin will be the featured keynote speaker at Monticello’s commemoration of Jefferson’s 279th birthday on April 13 at 10 a.m. on the West Lawn of Monticello.

Westin joins a list of renowned recipients of the Medal in Citizen Leadership, including Marian Wright Edelman, founder and president of the Children’s Defense Fund; the late civil rights leader and U.S. Rep. John Lewis; and Rockefeller Foundation president Rajiv Shah.


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Past Recipients of the Thomas Jefferson Foundation Medals