"This institution [the University of Virginia] will be based on the illimitable freedom of the human mind." –Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson’s birthday has been celebrated at the University of Virginia, in one form or another, since the University’s first academic session. On Founder’s Day, U.Va. 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 outstanding contributions in three fields that Mr. Jefferson held in high regard -- architecture, law, and citizen leadership.
The Thomas Jefferson Foundation Medal in Architecture, Medal in Law, and Medal in Citizen Leadership are the highest external honors bestowed by the University, which grants no honorary degrees.
In addition to the presentation of the Thomas Jefferson Foundation Medals, the University plants a tree in celebration of an individual who has made a significant contribution to the University.
The tree planting ceremony and medals presentation occur annually on Mr. Jefferson's birthday - April 13, known locally as Founder's Day by U.Va, which he founded in 1819. Since April 13 falls on a weekend this year, the tree planting ceremony and medals presentation will take place on Friday, April 11, 2014.