On Saturday, May 18th, the University of Wyoming will present LGBTQ+ civil rights activist and President of the Matthew Shepard Foundation, Judy Shepard, with its highest award, the honorary doctoral degree.
The Doctor of Humane Letters degree, given during the 2019 commencement ceremony, is given to an individual(s) that exemplifies the values of excellence, service and integrity; and possesses distinguished accomplishments in their professions, public service or service to humanity.
Known for her two-decade long focus of advocating for LGBTQ rights in memory of her son Matthew, Judy is honoured to be recognised by her alma mater, where she received a Bachelor’s degree in secondary education.
With a goal to raise awareness globally and promote the Matthew Shepard Foundation’s mission to “erase hate by replacing it with understanding, compassion and acceptance”, Judy has addressed audiences at more than 900 events in 25 countries.
Her inspiring message and tireless efforts have led to positive change, most significant being the passage of the Matthew Shepard/James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009.
“Judy’s contributions to the lives of the people of Wyoming, especially our youth, are difficult to measure”, wrote Jim Osborn, University of Wyoming’s Title IX coordinator, and manager of Equal Opportunity Report and Response.
“Nonetheless, she has brought a message of hope, determination, acceptance and love to countless people in Wyoming and beyond that has changed lives and made the world a better place”.
About the Matthew Shepard Foundation
The Matthew Shepard Foundation’s longstanding mission is to erase hate by replacing it with understanding, compassion and acceptance. Through local, regional and national outreach, they empower individuals to find their voice to create change and challenge communities to identify and address hate that lives within their schools, neighborhoods and homes. Their work is an extension of Matt’s passion to foster a more caring and just world. They share his story and embody his vigo[u]r for civil rights to change the hearts and minds of others to accept everyone as they are.
For information about the Matthew Shepard Foundation, visit