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U.Va. To Bestow Annual Thomas Jefferson Medals For Architecture And Law

April 3, 2001-- Glenn Murcutt, a major figure in world architecture, and Mortimer Caplin, former commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service, will receive the 2001 Thomas Jefferson Medals, the highest outside honors bestowed by the University of Virginia.

Murcutt, who is known for ecologically sensitive work that combines elements of regional vernacular with modernist tradition, will receive the 36th annual Thomas Jefferson Medal in Architecture. University of Virginia alumnus Mortimer Caplin, former commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service and a pre-eminent tax attorney, will receive the 25th annual Thomas Jefferson Medal in Law.

Sponsored jointly by the University and the Thomas Jefferson Foundation Inc., the non-profit organization that owns and operates Monticello, the awards are part of the University’s annual Founder’s Day celebration, usually held on April 13, Jefferson’s birthday. Since April 13 falls on Good Friday this year, Founder’s Day will be celebrated on Thursday, April 12.

Both recipients will give public lectures in connection with their awards. Murcutt will speak on "Place, Technology and Culture: Architecture for the Australian Landscape" at 2 p.m. on Wednesday, April 11, in the Old Cabell Hall Auditorium. Caplin will speak on "The State of Lawyering" in the Law School’s Caplin Pavilion at 3:30 p.m., on Thursday, April 12.

The Thomas Jefferson Medal in Architecture -- bestowed for lasting contributions to a field that deeply interested the University’s founder -- is, with the Thomas Jefferson Medal in Law -- conferred to a person of outstanding achievement in American or international law -- the highest outside honor offered by U.Va., which grants no honorary degrees.

Glenn Murcutt

Glenn Murcutt, Australia's best-known architect, has worked almost exclusively alone in his practice, single-handedly guiding every aspect of a project from conception to completion in his Sydney office. Even with worldwide recognition in the past few years, he has resisted the pressure to expand and alter the integrity of his careful working method.

One of the most influential architects working today, Murcutt’s designs integrate the structure with the landscape and complement the natural environment using glass, steel and aluminum. He has won an international following for his high craft, originality and economical construction methods in response to site, climate and client requirements. Considered both an environmentalist and a naturalist, he has long been interested in traditional societies and his work with Australia’s Aboriginal community and culture and their sense of place has been a cornerstone of his architecture.

Murcutt is respected for his design of residences and small projects that respond to greatly differing Australian climates, including the Magney Country House and the Marie Short House in New South Wales and the Marika-Alderton House in Eastern Arnhem Land. He also is known for his collaboration on the Visitor's Information Center and Park Headquarters in Kakadu National Park in Australia's Northern Territory.

"We are so pleased to honor Glenn Murcutt this year," said Karen Van Lengen, dean of the School of Architecture. "His thoughtful, ethical, aesthetic approach to the design of the environment honors the true spirit of Jefferson, and provides a wonderful example for our students and faculty."

Murcutt is in demand as a teacher throughout the world and there has rarely been a year over the past decade when he has not been honored internationally for his work.

The 1992 recipient of Finland’s Alvar Aalto Medal, one of the world’s most prestigious architecture awards, Murcutt taught graduate studios in U.Va.’s School of Architecture as the Thomas Jefferson Visiting Professor in spring 1998.

Born in England, Murcutt spent his early years in New Guinea before moving with his family to Sydney, Australia, where he studied architecture at the University of New South Wales. After traveling throughout Europe for two years and an apprenticeship in an architectural office, he established his Sydney-based private practice in 1969.

Mortimer Caplin

"Mortimer Caplin has done it all," said Law School Dean Robert Scott. "His

many-faceted professional career reflects the astonishing breadth of his service and

accomplishments as academic lawyer, public servant and distinguished practitioner. From his tenure as a prominent law professor at the University of Virginia, to public service as President Kennedy's Commissioner of Internal Revenue, to his role as the founding partner of the leading tax law firm in the country, he has exemplified the Jeffersonian ideal of the lawyer as public citizen."

Born in 1916 in New York, Caplin graduated U.Va.’s College of Arts & Sciences (1937) and School of Law (1940).

"He earned every honor as a law school student that it is possible to win, including editor-in-chief of the Virginia Law Review," Scott said.

In 1940, he clerked for Armistead M. Dobie in the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court in Richmond. The next year he joined the New York law firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison as an associate, but World War II interrupted his career. Caplin joined the U.S. Navy and was at D-Day, the Allied invasion of France.

After the war, Caplin taught tax law at U.Va. from 1950 to 1961, when President John F. Kennedy tapped him to be commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service. Robert F. Kennedy (1951) and Edward M. Kennedy (1959) had been among his law students.

In 1964, Caplin resigned from the IRS and co-founded Caplin & Drysdale, the Washington, D.C.-based law firm where he still is a senior partner and practices as a tax law authority. He was a visiting professor in tax law at U.Va. for 22 years, retiring as a professor emeritus in 1987.

Strongly public spirited, Caplin has been chairman of the board of the National Civic Service League and the American Council on International Sports, trustee of the Peace Through

Law Foundation in Washington and past president of the Atlantic Coast Conference.

His honors include the Tax Executives Institute’s Distinguished Service Award, the U.S. Treasury Department’s Alexander Hamilton Award and the American Jewish Committee’s Judge Learned Hand Human Relations Award.

Caplin has been a generous benefactor to the University of Virginia, especially to the

Law School. He has served on the U.Va. Board of Visitors, as a trustee of the Law School

Foundation and as chair of the University’s Council for the Arts since its inception in 1990.

Caplin’s visionary gifts have funded the Law School’s Caplin Auditorium, the Daniel Caplin Professorship, the Mortimer Caplin Public Service Scholarship, the Mortimer Caplin Public Service Award and the Mortimer Caplin Public Service Center as well as several major improvements to the school’s facilities.



1966 Mies van der Rohe

1984 H. H. The Aga Khan

1967 Alvar Aalto

1985 Leon Krier

1968 Marcel Breurer

1986 James Stirling

1969 John Ely Burchard

1987 Romaldo Giurgola

1970 Kenzo Tange

1988 Dan Kiley

1971 Jose Luis Sert

1989 Paul Mellon

1972 Lewis Mumford

1990 Fumihiko Maki

1973 Jean Labatut

1991 John V. Lindsay

1974 Frei Otto

1992 Aldo Rossi

1975 Sir Nikolaus Pevsner

1993 Andres M. Duany

1976 I.M. Pei

& Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk

1977 Ada Louise Huxtable

1994 Frank O. Gehry

1978 Philip Johnson

1995 Ian L. McHarg

1979 Lawrence Halprin

1996 Jane Jacobs

1980 Hugh A. Stubbins

1997 Jaime Lerner

1981 Edward Larrabee Barnes

1998 Jaquelin T. Robertson

1982 Vincent Scully

1999 Lord Richard Rogers

1983 Robert Venturi

2000 Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan


1977 Carl McGowan

1989 Sam Nunn

1978 Henry Friendly

1990 Collins J. Seitz

1979 Paul A. Freund

1991 Robert M. Morgenthau

1980 Erwin N. Griswold

1992 Marian Wright Edelman

1981 Lewis F. Powell Jr.

1993 William H. Rehnquist

1982 Warren J. Christopher

1994 Richard A. Posner

1983 Sir Leslie George Scarman

1995 Lloyd Cutler

1984 Griffin Bell

1996 Rex E. Lee

1985 Warren Burger

1997 Ruth Bader Ginsberg

1986 William H. Webster

1998 Alan K. Simpson

1987 Sandra Day O’Connor

1999 Elaine Jones

1988 Edmund Muskie

2000 Guido Calabresi

Contact: Jane Ford, (804) 924-4298 or Charlotte Crystal, (804) 924-6858

FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: Contact the Office of University Relations at (804) 924-7116. Television reporters should contact the TV News Office at (804) 924-7550.
SOURCE: U.Va. News Services


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