Founder's Day

The 2017 Thomas Jefferson Foundation Medal Recipients


"This year’s medal recipients represent a remarkably broad range of human endeavor. The common denominator is that all of them have ascended to significantly high levels of achievement in their respective fields.” 
–Teresa Sullivan, president of UVA

The University of Virginia and the Thomas Jefferson Foundation at Monticello will present their highest external honors, the 2017 Thomas Jefferson Foundation Medals in Architecture, Law, Citizen Leadership and Global Innovation, respectively, to:

  • Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara, Irish founders and directors of Grafton Architects, renowned for their creative and visionary academic and educational buildings. 
  • Loretta Lynch, the first African-American female attorney general in U.S. history, known for her impressive career prosecuting cases involving narcotics, violent crimes, public corruption and civil rights. 
  • Alice Waters, founder of the Edible Schoolyard Project, chef, author, food activist, founder and owner of Chez Panisse Restaurant in Berkeley, California, who has championed local, sustainable agriculture for more than four decades. 
  • N. R. Narayana Murthy, Indian entrepreneur and visionary leader who founded and grew Infosys into an information technology powerhouse through the design and implementation of the global delivery model for outsourcing services. 

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

“This year’s medalists embody Jefferson’s vision of global citizenship and his relentless dedication to human progress and innovation.”
-Leslie Greene Bowman, president of the Thomas Jefferson Foundation

Thomas Jefferson Foundation Medal in Architecture:

 Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara are the directors of Grafton Architects, established in 1978. Both are graduates of University College Dublin, fellows of the Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland, International Honorary Fellows of the Royal Institute of British Architects and elected members of Aosdána, the eminent Irish Art organization.

Both partners began teaching at the University College of Dublin in 1976 and are currently full professors of architecture at the Academia di Mendrisio in Switzerland and adjunct professors at University College Dublin. They jointly held the Kenzo Tange Chair at the Harvard Graduate School of Design in 2010 and the Louis Kahn Chair at Yale University in 2011. They have taught and lectured widely throughout Europe and in the United States.

“As founding partners of Grafton Architects, Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara have built an international award-winning practice that has made substantial contributions to culture and education and have embodied their values in profound works of architecture,” said Ila Berman, dean of the University of Virginia School of Architecture, which co-sponsors the Thomas Jefferson Foundation Medal in Architecture. “Their investment in re-imagining a contemporary version of Thomas Jefferson’s Academical Village has been exemplified in projects such as the University of Technology and Engineering campus in Lima, Peru and the Universita Luigi Bocconi – each outstanding examples of the capacity of architecture to contribute to the making of public space in service to society as a whole.”

Grafton Architects has won numerous international awards, including the World Building of the Year Award in 2008 for the Universita Luigi Bocconi in Milan, which is widely acclaimed and recognized as a seminal contemporary work, and most recently, the 2016 Royal Institute of British Architects International Prize for the University of Technology and Engineering campus in Peru, named the world’s best new building. This project was also a finalist for the Mies Crown Hall Americas Prize for the most outstanding works of architecture in the Americas.

The firm was also a finalist for the Sterling Prize for the University of Limerick Medical School and Student Accommodation. It has been the recipient of the Architectural Association of Ireland’s awards many times, won the Jane Drew Award in 2015 and the Irish Design Institute President’s Award in 2016. Winners of the Silver Lion Award at the Venice Biennale in 2012, Farrell and McNamara have been named the artistic directors of the upcoming 2018 Venice Architectural Biennale – only the second time that the exhibition will be directed by women, after Kazuyo Sejima in 2010.

They are currently working on the design of the new Paul Marshall Institute for the London School of Economics; the new School of Economics for University Toulouse 1 Capitole School of Economics in Toulouse, France; the new Town House Building at Kingston University London; and the Parnell Square Cultural Quarter Project – The New City Library in Dublin, Ireland.

To mark the occasion of their receiving the Thomas Jefferson Foundation Medal in Architecture, the UVA School of Architecture will host a public talk by Farrell and McNamara on April 13 at 3 p.m. in the Old Cabell Hall Auditorium.

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Thomas Jefferson Foundation Medal in Law:

Loretta E. Lynch was sworn in as the 83rd attorney general of the United States by Vice President Joe Biden on April 27, 2015, becoming the first African-American woman to hold the post. President Barack Obama announced his intention to nominate Lynch on Nov. 8, 2014.

Her father, a pastor, spurred her fascination with the legal system by taking her as a young girl to watch proceedings at the courthouse in Durham, North Carolina. He and her mother, an English teacher and librarian, instilled in her a love of learning and a passion for public service.

“Attorney General Lynch has dedicated her extraordinary career to enforcing justice and promoting the rule of law,” School of Law Dean Risa Goluboff said. “She believes that government officials need to earn the trust of the people they represent, and she has herself been a model of such service, integrity and courage.”

Lynch received her A.B., cum laude, from Harvard College in 1981, and her J.D. from Harvard Law School in 1984, where she was an adviser to the first-year moot court competition and a member of the Legal Aid Bureau and Harvard Black Law Students Association.

In 1990, after a period in private practice, Lynch joined the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York, located in Brooklyn, the city she considers her adopted home. There, she forged an impressive career prosecuting cases involving narcotics, guns, organized crime and public corruption. In one notable instance, she served on the prosecution team in the high-profile civil rights case of Abner Louima, a Haitian immigrant who was sexually assaulted by uniformed police officers in a Brooklyn police precinct in 1997.

In 1999, President Clinton appointed her to lead the office as U.S. Attorney – a post she held until 2001. In 2002, she joined Hogan & Hartson LLP (now Hogan Lovells) as a partner in the firm’s New York office. While in private practice, Lynch performed extensive pro bono work for the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, established to prosecute those responsible for human rights violations in the 1994 genocide in that country. As special counsel to the tribunal, she was responsible for investigating allegations of witness tampering and false testimony.

In 2010, Obama asked Lynch to resume her leadership of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Brooklyn. Under her direction, the office successfully prosecuted numerous corrupt public officials, terrorists, cybercriminals and human traffickers, among other important cases.

Lynch enjoys spending her free time with her husband, Stephen Hargrove, and their two children.

To mark the occasion of her receiving the Thomas Jefferson Foundation Medal in Law, the UVA School of Law will host a public talk by Lynch in the Caplin Auditorium starting at 4:00 p.m. on April 13.

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Thomas Jefferson Foundation Medal in Citzen Leadership:

Alice Waters is a chef, author, food activist and the founder and owner of Chez Panisse Restaurant in Berkeley, California. She has been a champion of local sustainable agriculture for more than four decades. In 1995 she founded the Edible Schoolyard Project, which advocates for a free school lunch for all children and a sustainable food curriculum in every public school.

Since 2002, Waters has been vice president of Slow Food International, an organization committed to inspiring individuals and communities to change the world through “food that is good, clean and fair for all.” She conceived and helped create the Yale Sustainable Food Project in 2003 and the Rome Sustainable Food Project at the American Academy in Rome in 2007.

“Alice Waters has become one of the international thought leaders in the field of local sustainable agricultural development,” said Allan Stam, dean of UVA’s Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy, which sponsors the Citizen Leadership medal. “For more than four decades, she has championed intelligent policy options in the fields of nutrition and food policy, demonstrating the power of citizen leadership. We are honored to welcome her to the University of Virginia for this special occasion.”

Her numerous honors include election as a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2007; the Harvard Medical School’s Global Environmental Citizen Award, which she shared with former United Nations chief Kofi Annan in 2008; and her induction into the French Legion of Honor in 2010. In 2015 President Obama awarded her a National Humanities Medal, proving that eating is a political act, and that the table is a powerful means to social justice and positive change. 

Waters is the author of 15 books, including New York Times bestsellers “The Art of Simple Food I & II” and “The Edible Schoolyard: A Universal Idea.”

In 2012, she prepared a meal at Monticello in celebration of Jefferson’s legacy as a farmer and as our most famously epicurean president. “I really feel like, buried in the ground here, are all the values of our democracy, and we have to dig them up and eat them,” Waters said.

Waters will be the keynote speaker at Monticello’s commemoration of Jefferson’s birthday, which will begin at 9:45 a.m. Thursday. The celebration is free and open to the public and will also be live-streamed online at The Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy will also host Waters for public remarks in Garrett Hall Thursday at 3:30 p.m. Following her remarks, a panel featuring Charlottesville Mayor Mike Signer and Superintendent of Schools Dr. Rosa Atkins will discuss Charlottesville food systems and promoting healthy schools. More about the event.    

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Thomas Jefferson Foundation Medal in Global Innovation:

In 1981, Narayana Murthy founded Infosys, a global software consulting company headquartered in Bangalore. He served as Infosys’s CEO from 1981 to 2002, as chair and chief mentor from 1981 to 2011, and as chair emeritus from August 2011 to May 2013. Under his leadership, Infosys was listed on NASDAQ in 1999.

Murthy articulated, designed and implemented the “global delivery model,” which became the foundation for the huge success in IT services outsourcing from India. Having led key corporate governance initiatives in India, he also is an IT adviser to several Asian countries. 

“In the early ’80s, as a computer engineer, Murthy seized what he saw as great potential in software services and built a company and ultimately an industry that has pioneered major changes in India’s business culture – creating jobs, raising business standards and launching a foundation to help the underprivileged,” said Scott C. Beardsley, dean of the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business. “His innovations and leadership in the creation of a global software and services industry have created true value for humanity.”

Murthy serves on the boards of the Ford Foundation, United Nations Foundation and the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey. He is a member of the University of Tokyo’s Global Advisory Board. He has served as a member of the HSBC board and the Unilever board. He has served on the boards of Cornell University, Wharton School, Rhodes Trust and the Graduate School of Business at Stanford University. He has also chaired the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad.

In 2012, Fortune magazine listed him among the “12 greatest entrepreneurs of our time,” and The Economist ranked him among the 10 most-admired global business leaders in 2005. In 2014, he was ranked 13th among CNBC’s 25 global business leaders who have made maximum impact on society during the last 25 years. Murthy is ranked among the top 10 of the Financial Times’ list of “Business pioneers in technology,” published in March 2015. He is the first Indian winner of Ernst and Young’s World Entrepreneur of the Year award.

Murthy is a foreign member of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering and a fellow of the Indian National Academy of Engineering. He received the 2012 Hoover Medal. The Tech Museum in San Jose, California awarded him the James C. Morgan Global Humanitarian Award in 2012. He received the 2007 Ernst Weber Medal from the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, USA.

Murthy has been awarded the Legion d’honneur by the government of France, the CBE by the British government and the Padma Vibhushan by the government of India.

He has also received the Max Schmidheiny Liberty Prize. He has appeared in rankings of businessmen and innovators published by BusinessWeek, Time, CNN, Fortune, Forbes, Financial Times and India Today.

He is also a trustee of the Infosys Science Foundation, which governs the Infosys Prize, an annual award, to honor outstanding achievements of researchers and scientists across six categories.

To mark the occasion of his receiving the Thomas Jefferson Foundation Medal in Global Innovation, the Darden School of Business will host a public talk by Murthy on April 12 from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. at Darden’s Abbott Center Auditorium. Please click here to register for this free event. 

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Past Recipients