People/Web Search Calendar Emergency Info A-Z Index UVA Email University of Virginia

Skip to Content

Founder's Day
April 13, 2015

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 enduring contributions in three fields that Jefferson held in high regard -- architecture, law, and citizen leadership. These medals are the highest external honors bestowed by the University, which grants no honorary degrees.

While on Grounds, the recipient of the Thomas Jefferson Foundation Medal in Architecture, Medal in Law, and Medal in Citizen Leadership will give a public talk in their field of expertise.

In addition to the presentation of the Thomas Jefferson Foundation Medals, U.Va. plants a tree in celebration of an individual who has made a significant contribution to the University.

The names of the Thomas Jefferson Foundation Medalists, the honoree of the tree planting, and the complete schedule of events will be announced in February 2015.