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Anthony M. Kennedy Billie Tsien Tod Williams
Anthony M. Kennedy
Billie Tsien
Tod Williams

TJ medalists
U.Va. bestows highest awards

By Jane Ford and Fariss Samarrai

Supreme Court associate justice Anthony M. Kennedy and husband-and-wife team Tod Williams and Billie Tsien will receive the 2003 Thomas Jefferson Medals in Law and Architecture, respectively. The medals are the highest outside awards offered by the University, which grants no honorary degrees.

Kennedy, who will receive the 27th annual Jefferson Medal in Law, has served on the high court since 1988. Williams and Tsien, who will receive the 38th annual Jefferson Medal in Architecture, are founding partners of the New York architectural firm TWBTA.

The awards are co-sponsored by the University and the Thomas Jefferson Foundation Inc., the non-profit organization that owns and operates Monticello. They will be presented during a private Rotunda luncheon as part of Founder’s Day observances, and reflect Jefferson’s deep interest in law and architecture.

The honorees will give public lectures. Kennedy will offer “Comments on the Supreme Court” April 10 at 4:15 p.m. at the Law School’s Caplin Pavilion. Williams and Tsien will lecture Friday at 3:30 p.m. in Old Cabell Hall Auditorium. The School of Architecture’s Elmaleh Gallery will host an accompanying exhibition of their work.

Williams and Tsien designed and built such buildings as The Whitney Museum of American Art’s downtown branch in New York City; the Neurosciences Institute in La Jolla, Calif., which was awarded a National American Institute of Architects Honor Award; and U.Va.’s Hereford College.

Recent projects include The Museum of Folk Art in New York City, which was named the Best New Building in the World by World Architecture magazine in 2002.

Both architects bring a desire to cross disciplinary boundaries in their teaching and practice, often performing extensive experiments on materials that result in innovative and unique applications.

“This internationally known practice is celebrated for its institutional and residential projects, as well as its exhibition design,” said Architecture School Dean Karen Van Lengen. “Their work is characterized by a strong formal presence thoughtfully integrated into the landscape and with particular attention to new materials and details.”

Williams and Tsien have taught at Harvard, Yale, Pennsylvania, Parsons School of Design, Southern California Institute of Architecture and the University of Texas, among others. Williams also held the Thomas Jefferson Chair in the department of architecture at U.Va. in 1990.

Kennedy, a California native and Harvard Law alumnus, received his B.A. from Stanford and the London School of Economics. He was in private practice until 1975, when President Ford made him the nation’s youngest federal judge, appointing him to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals at age 38. President Reagan elevated him to the Supreme Court 13 years later.

Kennedy has served in the California National Guard, on the board of the Federal Judicial Center, and on two committees of the Judicial Conference of the United States: the Advisory Panel on Financial Disclosure Reports and Judicial Activities, and the Committee on Pacific Territories, which he chaired from 1982-1990. From 1965 until his Supreme Court appointment he was a professor of constitutional law at the University of the Pacific.

Kennedy, a conservative, is known for his ability to build bridges between the court’s conservative and liberal justices.


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