Rights Lawyer Elaine Jones And Millenium-Dome Architect Richard
Rogers To Be Honored On Founders Day At U.Va.
4, 1999 -- One of America's foremost civil rights
lawyers and one of the most inventive architects working in the
world today will be honored and give public talks at the University
of Virginia on April 13, Thomas Jefferson's birthday.
R. Jones, director of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund,
the nation's premier civil rights public-interest law firm, and
British architect Richard Rogers, who is currently creating a gigantic,
hi-tech Millennium Dome in Greenwich, England, will receive the
highest outside honors conferred by U.Va., which grants no honorary
degrees. The annual Jefferson awards in law and architecture, two
fields of deep interest to Jefferson, are part of the University's
Founder's Day activities.
who in 1970 became the first African-American woman to graduate
from the U.Va. School of Law and is now one of the country's most
influential leaders on civil rights issues, will receive the 23rd
Thomas Jefferson Award in Law. Rogers, a major figure of modern
architecture who co-designed the innovative steel-and-glass Pompidou
Center in the heart of Paris and who emphasizes technology as a
tool to solve social and ecological problems, will receive the 34th
Jefferson Medal in Architecture.
awards are sponsored jointly by the University and the Thomas Jefferson
Memorial Foundation. Jones and Rogers will be honored at a private
luncheon in the Rotunda and will spend several days teaching and
meeting with students. They will make public talks during the afternoon
will speak at 4 p.m. in the law school's Caplin Auditorium. Rogers
will give a presentation about his work at 4 p.m. at the Culbreth
Theater. An exhibit of Rogers' work will be on display from 9 a.m.
to 5 p.m. weekdays April 12-30 in Campbell Hall Salon A.
native, Jones earned a B.A. in political science from Howard University,
then served in the Peace Corps for two years before entering the
U.Va. law school in 1967. After graduation she declined a lucrative
offer from a private firm and went to work for the NAACP Legal Defense
Fund (LDF). She has remained there since, with the exception of
two years as a special assistant to the Secretary of Transportation
in the Ford Administration.
first assignments with the LDF often involved litigating on behalf
of black death penalty defendants throughout the South. In 1972
-- just two years out of law school -- she was counsel of record
in Furman v. Georgia, the landmark case in which the U.S. Supreme
Court struck down death penalty statutes in 37 states.
her stint in the Ford Administration from 1975 to 1977, Jones took
the lead in opening Coast Guard service to women. After returning
to the LDF she became its first official legislative advocate. In
1993, she was appointed the LDF's fourth director-counsel, following
in the footsteps of founder Thurgood Marshall and other noted civil
rights leaders. She is the first woman to lead the organization.
Jones' record of public service speaks volumes about her character,
principles, and commitment to justice. Throughout her distinguished
legal career, she has made positive social change her preeminent
objective," said Robert Scott, dean of the School of Law. "There
is simply no one who is a better example of a lifetime commitment
to public service."
heading the oldest civil rights law group in the country, with a
staff of more than 25 attorneys and offices in Washington, Los Angeles
and New York, Jones has continued the organization's strength in
litigation while putting a priority on shaping public policy through
legislation -- specifically targeting street violence, hate crimes,
equal educational opportunities, access to health care and environmental
has received several other honors, including the Gertrude E. Rush
Award of the National Bar Association and the George W. Collins
Award of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation. In 1989, she
became the first African American to be elected to the American
Bar Association's Board of Governors. She received the U.Va. Women's
Center 1998 Distinguished Alumna Award.
hailed as one of the world's most original architects, was born
in Florence, Italy, and was educated at the Architectural Association
School in London and Yale University. Known for his lavish, hi-tech
designs, he worked with Italian architect Renzo Piano to create
the famous Pompidou Center art museum and cultural complex in the
historic heart of Paris in the 1970s. Its vibrant plaza and innovative
design, with exterior tubes and pipes evoking the modern industrial
landscape, attracts streams of Parisians and tourists alike.
architecture's classical past, Rogers has playfully embraced technology
but stresses that it should attempt to solve society's problems.
He and his firm, Richard Rogers Partnership, emphasize creating
public spaces and enlivening cities. Among his other well-known
buildings are the redevelopment of the Lloyd's of London headquarters
and two recently completed court facilities, the European Court
of Human Rights in Strasbourg and the Law Courts in Bordeaux.
received the Royal Institute of British Architects Gold Medal for
Architecture in 1985 and was made a French Chevalier de la Legion
d'Honneur in 1986. He was knighted in Britain in 1991.
Rogers is one of the most inspiring architects of our age," said
William McDonough, dean of the School of Architecture. "His work,
while representing a dramatic cultural and technical avant-garde,
is moving the design agenda from a 'timeful mindlessness' toward
a 'timeless mindfulness' which incorporates a deep and sustaining
celebration of the human and natural world."
has won countless international competitions and design awards including
the Buenos Aires Architecture Biennial International Grand Award
for best work in world architecture. His work has been exhibited
around the world.
was hired to design England's $1 billion-plus, government-sponsored
Millennium Dome in 1996. The Greenwich dome will be the world's
largest continual membrane structure, a giant tent-like dome more
than 1,000 feet in diameter, supported by slender exterior columns
and cables and covered with taut, white fiberglass panels. It's
nearly a mile in circumference and encloses 20 acres, but the entire
structure weighs less than the air it contains. It can accommodate
35,000 people at a time, who will visit its pavilions as part of
Britain's celebration of the new millennium.
an advocate of responsible stewardship of the Thames riverbanks,
Rogers and colleagues have had to resurrect the contaminated site
of a former gasworks to build the dome. It is to be opened at a
ceremony attended by Queen Elizabeth II on Dec. 31.
Bob Brickhouse, (804) 924-6856.