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Kinser to get Jefferson Foundation medal

Cynthia D. Kinser, chief justice of the Supreme Court of Virginia, will receive the 2011 Thomas Jefferson Foundation Medal in Law as part of the University of Virginia’s Founder’s Day observation next month.

Kinser is a 1977 graduate of the U.Va. law school. Her “appointment as the first female chief justice of Virginia was a momentous event for her, for the law school and for the commonwealth,” Dean Paul G. Mahoney said. “We are honored to be able to present her with the medal in law.”

The chief justice will speak at the law school on April 12 at 3:30 p.m. in the school’s Caplin Pavilion. Other Founder’s Day activities will be held that day and the following day, which is Jefferson’s birthday.

Kinser was appointed to the Supreme Court by law school classmate George Allen in 1997. He colleagues elected her to head the state’s judicial system last year, and she became chief justice on Feb. 1.

The medals the university and the foundation bestow annually in the fields of law, architecture and citizen leadership are the highest external honors the university bestows because it does not grant honorary degrees.

The recipient of the architecture award is Maya Lin, designer of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, and Peter G. Peterson, a former Secretary of Commerce and former chairman and chief executive officer of Lehman Brothers, will receive the citizen leadership award.

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