The Legacy of Matthew Shepard

For Immediate Release:  Feb. 17, 2016

BLOOMSBURG—It is every parent’s nightmare to receive a phone call stating their child is near death. For Judy and Dennis Shepard, that nightmare became real.

Determined to use grief over her son’s death to make a difference, Judy Shepard will discuss “The Legacy of Matthew Shepard” on Monday, Feb. 29, at 6 p.m. in Haas Center for the Arts, Mitrani Hall. Admission is free and open to the public.

On Oct. 8, 1998, the Shepards awoke in the middle of the night to a telephone call letting them know their eldest son, Matthew, was in a coma. He had been attacked and tied to a fence on the outskirts of Laramie, Wyo., the victim of a hate crime. He died eight days later.

Judy Shepard is the founding president of the Matthew Shepard Foundation, serving as its first executive director from 1999 to 2009. As board president, she speaks to audiences nationwide about what they can do to make their schools and communities safer for everyone, regardless of their race, sex, religion or sexual orientation.

In 2009, she wrote “The Meaning of Matthew,” exploring the family’s journey through the prosecution of Matthew’s assailants, the ensuing media coverage, and their continuing work to advance civil rights.

This event is sponsored by BU’s Multicultural Affairs Office, and co-sponsored by the Center for Leadership and Engagement, LGBTQA Resource Center and the LGBTQA Commission.

In conjunction with Shepard’s lecture, “The Laramie Project” by playwright Moisés Kaufman will be performed by the BU Players opening on Wednesday, Feb. 24, at 7:30 p.m. in Alvina Krause Theatre, 226 Center St., Bloomsburg. The play reveals the reaction of Laramie’s residents to Matthew’s death and events one year after it occurred.

The BU Players’ production will run from Wednesday through Saturday, Feb. 27, at 7:30 p.m. with a Sunday, Feb. 28, performance at 3 p.m. Advance tickets are available through the Performing Arts Box Office located in Haas Center for the Arts on weekdays from noon to 5 p.m. with extended hours on Wednesday until 7 p.m.

Bloomsburg University is one of 14 universities in Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education. The university serves approximately 10,000 students, offering comprehensive programs of study in the colleges of Education, Business, Liberal Arts and Science and Technology.