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Thomas Jefferson Foundation Medalists

“All of this year’s medal recipients have excelled in their respective fields. Along with their commitment to achievement in their disciplines, they share a sense of intellectual innovation and service to the greater good.”
-Teresa Sullivan, president of UVA

On April 13, the University of Virginia and the Thomas Jefferson Foundation at Monticello will present their highest honors, the 2018 Thomas Jefferson Foundation Medals in Architecture, Law, and Citizen Leadership, respectively, to:

  • Architecture: Sir David Adjaye OBE, a globally acclaimed architect and founder of Adjaye Associates renowned for his ingenious use of materials and sculptural designs, including the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of African American History and Culture.
  • Law: Frank H. Easterbrook, a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit and senior lecturer of law at the University of Chicago Law School known for his expertise in antitrust law, criminal law and procedure, and corporate law.
  • Citizen Leadership:  Morgan Carrington "Cary" Fowler, Jr., an American agriculturalist and former executive director of the Crop Trust whose decades of work championing crop diversity and conservation included the creation of the Svalbard Global Seed Vault — the world’s largest collection of crop diversity, housing more than 930,000 distinct varieties.
 “We are honored to welcome the 2018 Thomas Jefferson Foundation Medal recipients, each of whom, like Jefferson, has made a profound impact on our world and will inspire future generations of leaders.” 
-Leslie Greene Bowman, president of the Thomas Jefferson Foundation

Thomas Jefferson Foundation Medal in Architecture:

Sir David Adjaye OBE, the architect behind the National Museum of African American History and Culture, is the 2018 recipient of the Thomas Jefferson Foundation Medal in Architecture. 

Adjaye is recognized as a leading architect of his generation. Born in Tanzania to Ghanaian parents, his influences range from contemporary art, music and science to African art forms and the civic life of cities. 

In 1994, he set up his first office, where his ingenious use of materials and his sculptural ability established him as an architect with an artist’s sensibility and vision. He reformed his studio as Adjaye Associates in 2000. The firm now has offices in London, New York and Accra, Ghana, with projects in the U.S., U.K., Europe, Africa, Asia and the Middle East. 

His largest project to date, the $540 million Smithsonian Institution National Museum of African American History and Culture (completed as a collaboration with project team Freelon Adjaye Bond/SimthGroup), opened on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. in fall of 2016; its debut was named Cultural Event of the Year by the New York Times. 

“Named among TIME’s 100 most influential people in the world and knighted by the Queen for his contributions to architecture, Sir David Adjaye is one of the most prominent and truly creative designers of his generation,” School of Architecture Dean Ila Berman said. “As the lead designer for the award-winning Smithsonian Institute National Museum of African American History and Culture located on the Mall in Washington D.C., he has enabled architecture, through its strong symbolic and physical presence, to embody and give a voice to histories that have remained buried for many years since the founding of this nation. Monolithic and monumental, yet as ephemeral as a materialized shadow, this work is an astounding and sublime jewel – a long-awaited treasure for the nation as a whole.”

Other prominent completed work includes the Idea Stores in London (2005), which were credited with pioneering a new approach to library services; the Moscow School of Management SKOLKOVO (2010); the Sugar Hill mixed-use social housing scheme in Harlem, New York (2015); and the Aishti Foundation retail and art complex in Beirut (2015). Prominent ongoing projects include a new home for the Studio Museum in Harlem, New York; a new headquarters building for the International Finance Corporation in Dakar, Senegal; and the just-announced National Holocaust Memorial and Learning Centre in London. 

In 2017, Adjaye was knighted by Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II for services to architecture, following his 2007 award of admittance to the Order of the British Empire. Also in 2017, he was recognized as one of the 100 most influential people of the year by TIME magazine. He has additionally received the Design Miami/Artist of the Year title in 2011, the Wall Street Journal Innovator Award in 2013 and the 2016 Panerai London Design Medal from the London Design Festival. 

Adjaye is known for his frequent collaborations with contemporary artists on installations and exhibitions. Most notably, he designed the 56th Venice Art Biennale with curator Okwui Enwezor in 2015. “The Upper Room,” featuring 13 paintings by Chris Ofili (2002), is now part of the permanent collection of Tate Britain. Further examples include “Within Reach,” a second installation with Ofili in the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale (2003); and the Thyssen-Bornemisza Art for the 21st Century Pavilion that was designed to show “Your Black Horizon,” a projection work by Olafur Eliasson, at the 2005 Venice Biennale. 

The material from his 10-year study of the capital cities of Africa was exhibited as “Urban Africa” at London’s Design Museum (2010) and published as “Adjaye Africa Architecture” (Thames & Hudson, 2011). He was the artistic director of “GEO-graphics: A Map of Art Practices in Africa, Past and Present,” a major exhibition at the Centre for Fine Arts, Brussels (2010). In 2015, a comprehensive retrospective exhibition of his work to date launched at Haus der Kunst in Munich and the Art Institute of Chicago, and was subsequently shown at the Garage Museum of Contemporary Art in Moscow. 

Adjaye has held distinguished professorships at Harvard, Princeton and Yale universities. He has also taught at the Royal College of Art, where he had previously studied, and at the Architectural Association School in London. 

Adjaye will give a public talk on April 13 at 4:00 p.m. in the Old Cabell Hall Auditorium.  


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Thomas Jefferson Foundation Medal in Law:

Judge Frank H. Easterbrook of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit has been selected by the University of Virginia and the Thomas Jefferson Foundation to receive this year’s Thomas Jefferson Foundation Medal in Law. 

Easterbrook, named to the Seventh Circuit in 1985, served as its chief judge and a member of the Judicial Conference of the United States from 2006 to 2013. One of the most-cited appellate judges in the nation, Easterbrook also has had a noted career in academia, which includes having written the most-cited corporate law article of all time. 

“Judge Easterbrook has managed two illustrious careers in the time it takes most to achieve even one set of far more modest accomplishments,” UVA Law School Dean Risa Goluboff said.

Easterbrook was a member of the Judicial Conference’s Standing Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure from 1991 to 1997. He served as co-editor of the Journal of Law and Economics from 1982 to 1991. 

Before joining the court, he was the Lee and Brena Freeman Professor of Law at the University of Chicago, where he taught and wrote about antitrust, securities, corporate law, jurisprudence and criminal procedure. 

His article that broke the record for corporate law citations, “The Proper Role of a Target’s Management in Responding to a Tender Offer,” was published in the Harvard Law Review in 1981. He is also the author of the 1991 book “The Economic Structure of Corporate Law,” co-written with Daniel Fischel.

“As a scholar, he is a renowned and celebrated expert on law and economics and antitrust law,” Goluboff said. “Since ascending to the federal bench, he has become one of the most distinguished and frequently cited judges in the nation.”

Before joining Chicago’s faculty in 1979, Easterbrook was the U.S. deputy solicitor general. He is currently a senior lecturer in law at Chicago, from which he received his J.D.

He holds a B.A., with high honors, from Swarthmore College.

Easterbrook will speak on “The Supreme Court and Business Litigation” on Thursday, April 12 at noon in the Law School’s Caplin Pavilion.  


Thomas Jefferson Foundation Medal in Citzen Leadership:

Morgan Carrington “Cary” Fowler, Jr., an American agriculturalist and global champion of crop diversity and conservation, is the 2018 recipient of the Thomas Jefferson Foundation Medal in Citizen Leadership. 

Fowler is perhaps best known as the “father” of the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, which former United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon described as an “inspirational symbol of peace and food security for the entire humanity.” 

Fowler proposed creation of this Arctic facility, headed the international committee that developed the plan for its establishment and led the committee overseeing its operations from inception to 2017. Protected by permafrost and rock, the seed vault currently provides ultimate security for more than 930,000 unique crop varieties, the biological foundation of agriculture and the raw material for all future plant breeding and crop improvement efforts. 

 “Dr. Fowler’s visionary work to protect agricultural diversity and mitigate future food crises will benefit many generations to come,” said Allan Stam, dean of the University of Virginia Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy, which sponsors the Citizen Leadership medal. “We are honored to recognize Dr. Fowler for his leadership and dedication to food security worldwide.”

In 2005, Fowler was chosen to lead the new Global Crop Diversity Trust, an international organization cosponsored by Food and Agriculture Organization of the U.N. and the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research. This position carried international diplomatic status. During his tenure, he built an endowment of $130 million and raised an additional $100 million for programs to conserve crop diversity and make it available for plant breeding. 

The Crop Trust organized a global project to rescue 90,000 threatened crop varieties in developing countries – the largest such effort in history – and is now engaged in an effort Fowler initiated with the Royal Botanic Gardens (Kew) to collect and conserve the genetic diversity of wild relatives of 26 major crops. He oversaw development of a global information system to aid plant breeders and researchers in finding appropriate genetic materials from gene banks around the world. These initiatives at the Crop Trust positioned the organization as a major path-breaking player in the global effort to adapt crops to climate change.

Prior to leading the Global Crop Diversity Trust, Fowler was the leader of the first team assessing the world’s plant genetic resources for the U.N.’s Food and Agriculture Organization, or FAO, the drafter and negotiator for the first FAO Global Plan of Action on the Conservation and Sustainable Utilization of Plant Genetic Resources, two-time special assistant to the secretary general of the World Food Summit, a professor at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences in Ås, Norway and a representative for various nations and international organizations at treaty negotiations and conventions on biological diversity and plant genetic resources. 

Fowler was born in 1949 and grew up in Memphis, Tennessee, the son of a judge and a dietician. He was active in the civil rights movement in his youth and received his undergraduate degree with honors from Simon Fraser University in Canada. He earned his Ph.D. at Uppsala University in Sweden with a thesis on agricultural biodiversity and intellectual property rights. Fowler has lectured widely, been a visiting scholar at Stanford University and a visiting professor at the University of California, Davis. 

He is the author or co-author of more than 100 articles and several books, including the classic “Shattering: Food, Politics and the Loss of Genetic Diversity” (University of Arizona Press), “Unnatural Selection, Technology,” “Politics and Plant Evolution” (Gordon & Breach Science Publishers) and “The State of the World’s Plant Genetic Resources” (UN-FAO). Most recently he wrote “Seeds on Ice: Svalbard and the Global Seed Vault” (Prospecta Press), winner of the Nautilus Book Award Gold Medal for best ecology/environment book of 2016.

Throughout his career, Fowler has also served on and chaired numerous boards, including the U.S. National Plant Genetic Resources Board, the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center in Mexico, the national Livestock Conservancy and the Board for International Food and Agricultural Development, which he was appointed to by President Barack Obama. He is the chair of the Board of Trustees of Rhodes College and a board member of the NY Botanical Garden Corporation, the Lillian Goldman Charitable Trust and Amy P. Goldman Foundation. He remains associated with the Global Crop Diversity Trust as a special advisor and member of its finance and investment committee. 

He is the recipient of a number of awards: Right Livelihood Award, Vavilov Medal, the Heinz Award, Bette Midler’s Wind Beneath My Wings Award, the William Brown Award of the Missouri Botanical Garden, the Meyer Medal of the Crop Science Society, the Visionary Award from the American Visionary Arts Museum, and three honorary doctorates. He is one of two foreign elected members of the Russian Academy of Agricultural Sciences and is a member of the Russian Academy of Sciences. 

Fowler has been profiled by The New Yorker, 60 Minutes and more, and is the subject of an award winning feature documentary film, “Seeds of Time.”

Fowler will be the keynote speaker at Jefferson’s birthday celebration at Monticello and give a public talk at UVA. Further details will be announced at a later date.


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