The President's Medallion was created in 2009 during the tenure of Robert L. Barchi, MD, PhD, the fourth President of Thomas Jefferson University. It replaced the previous, well-worn President’s Medallion made in 1977, which had depicted four old corporate seals used in various eras of the institution’s history.
The current medallion was designed and crafted by Tiffany & Company, New York. It consists of a sterling silver medallion suspended from a heavy, silver double-link chain. The medallion’s obverse depicts the University seal; a bas-relief profile of Thomas Jefferson and the surround reads, “THOMAS JEFFERSON UNIVERSITY – 1824,” the year the institution was founded. The reverse is engraved with the names of the four University Presidents.
Silver is a metal long-associated with medicine and is recognized to have anti–bacterial properties. Hippocrates (ca. 300 BCE) acknowledged the healing powers of silver and the ancients used silver bottles to keep water or wine from spoiling. The expression "born with a silver spoon in your mouth" comes from the Middle Ages; when the wealthy gave their children silver spoons to suck on to prevent disease.
Like many academic traditions, the display of a heavy "chain of office" comes down to us from medieval regalia and represents the weight of responsibility for the wearer. The chain itself connotes strength in unity, as well as strong communication.
The Presidential Medallion is worn by the President at all convocations of the University.