Thomas Jefferson Award

The University of Colorado Thomas Jefferson Award honors students, staff, and faculty members who advance the ideals of Thomas Jefferson, which include:

  • broad interests in literature, arts and sciences, and public affairs;

  • a strong concern for the advancement of higher education;

  • a deeply seated sense of individual civic responsibility; and

  • a profound commitment to the welfare and rights of the individual.

Nominees should be members of the teaching faculty, the student body, or staff whose achievements reflect superior performance in their normal work or scholarship and notable participation in humanitarian activities.

The Thomas Jefferson Award is one of the University's highest honors, and includes an engraved plaque and a $2,000 cash honorarium for each recipient.

Submit Thomas Jefferson Award Nomination

Past Thomas Jefferson Award Recipients

The next Thomas Jefferson Award cycle will be in 2017-18. Please revisit this page in fall 2017 for information regarding the 2017-18 award.

Nomination Materials

The nomination packet is limited to 22 pages (including nomination cover letter) and must include the nominee’s current résumé and at least three supporting letters. Cover letters should address all the award criteria, especially service performed outside of the normal course of the nominee’s duties. The selection committee is composed of faculty, staff, and students from all campuses and makes its collective decision based solely on the materials provided by the nominator. It is the nominator’s responsibility to ensure that these requirements are met.  Self-nominations are not allowed.


The award was first established at the University of Virginia in 1951 by the Robert Earll McConnell Foundation to honor teaching faculty who exemplified the humanistic ideals associated with the country’s third president. By 1962, six other institutions had established a Jefferson Award, including the University of Colorado. In 1980, the University added a student category, and in 1988, the staff category was approved. Funds for the awards are derived from earnings on an endowment provided by the McConnell Foundation and from a bequest by Harrison Blair, a University of Colorado alumnus.

Nomination Submission

You can submit a nomination via the online submission form

Please contact Academic Affairs with questions regarding the Thomas Jefferson Award.