Shepard Symposium on Social Justice

The Shepard Symposium on Social Justice, an annual event at the University of Wyoming since 1996, has evolved into a major national conference, seeking to engage participants in discussion and analyses of strategies and actions that can eliminate social inequality. 

Begun by two faculty in the College of Education, Omawale Akintunde and Margaret Cooney, the symposium, then called “The Symposium for the Eradication of Social Inequality,” aimed at involving University of Wyoming and local students in dialogue on issues related to social justice, particularly within the context of public education. From those early beginnings, the symposium has grown in several ways. It has broadened its focus so that participants from throughout the community, state, and region have presented on social justice issues within a variety of arenas, including but also beyond the realm of public education. A steering committee with cross-college representation assures that multiple academic disciplines have connections to the symposium.

The symposium has expanded its topics to include inequalities based on race/ethnicity, gender sexual orientation, disability, and class. Honoring the work of the Shepard family and the memory of their son, Matthew Shepard, a UW student and social activist, the symposium changed its name in 2002 and works as a living reminder of the need for information and dialogue about social justice concerns in American and beyond. In the spring of that same year, the Shepard Symposium learned that it would be the recipient of funding from an anonymous endowment given to the University to pursue social justice activities throughout the campus. Past Symposium speakers have included Anita Hill, Johnny Cochran, Morris Dees, Ronald Takaki, Rubin "Hurricane" Carter, the Brown Sisters, and Sherman Alexie. These speakers have been heralded for their ability to draw many individuals representative of a diverse cross section of our community and region. The Symposium on Social Justice strives to reach a broad audience of community members (on and off campus), as well as regional and national groups of participants.

The Shepard Symposium on Social Justice, in celebration of its 20th year, is soliciting designs for a new logo.  The winning design will be chosen by the symposium planning committee and used on items including T-shirts, promotional materials, letterhead and the symposium website.  The winning submission will be awarded with a one-time $500 scholarship award to the University of Wyoming for current or prospective students or with an equivalent cash prize for community members.

Complete details about the symposium, including the current logo, past themes and mission statement, can be found at  All designs will be accepted, but designers should carefully consider the following:

       The symposium was founded in 1995 and was renamed in honor of slain UW student Matthew Shepard in 2002

       The symposium’s focus on social justice is primarily academic, but presentation topics vary widely and past presenters have included students, faculty and laypersons from across the globe

       Symposium themes and presentation topics include, but are never limited to, economic justice, civil rights, racial justice, environmental justice, LGBTQ issues, disability issues and gender equality

       The logo needs to fit a variety of media such as t-shirts, online content, water bottles and pens

The logo will be unveiled at the 20th annual symposium, April 6-9, 2016, in Laramie.  All who submit designs are invited to attend.

Submissions are due by 5:00 PM on January 31, 2016.  Submissions should be in .png or .jpg format, at least 300 dpi, and no larger than 1.2 MB.  Email submissions and questions to or use the submission box below.

The winning design and source file will become property of the University of Wyoming and the Shepard Symposium on Social Justice. All submissions should indicate whether or not the designer is a current or prospective UW student.

Thank you for thoughtfully considering this highly visible logo!  We look forward to your submission. 


20th Annual Shepard Symposium

Celebrating 20 Years of Social Justice

April 6-9, 2016

Join us in Laramie or online for the 20th Annual Shepard Symposium.