Founder's Day is celebrated at the University of Virginia on April 13, the birthday of its founder, Thomas Jefferson. The custom began in 1832 under the Jefferson Literary and Debating Society, and in the 19th century the day was an occasion for speeches and other ceremonies. Throughout the 20th and 21st century, the holiday has been observed with varying levels of annual pomp, including the draping of the statue of Jefferson in purple by the Society of the Purple Shadows and the announcement of the current members of the Thirteen Club.
On the 200th and 250th anniversaries of Jefferson's death, in 1943 and 1993, the Virginia Glee Club premiered works written for the occasion. 1943 saw the premiere of Randall Thompson's Testament of Freedom under the direction of Stephen Tuttle, and 1993 the premiere of Neely Bruce's Young T.J. in several performances including a Today Show appearance and a performance for President Bill Clinton at the Jefferson Memorial.