Activist speaker Judy Shepard will present the keynote address during the Rider University Unity Days on Wednesday, October 26.

Judy Shepard will present the 2011 Unity Days keynote address.

Activist speaker Judy Shepard will present the keynote address during the Rider University Unity Days on Wednesday, October 26, on the Lawrenceville campus. The lecture will begin at 7 p.m. in the Bart Luedeke Center Cavalla Room.

In 1998, Judy Shepard lost her son, Matthew, to a murder motivated by anti-gay hate. Turning tragedy into a crusade for justice, and determined to prevent Matthew’s fate from befalling others, she established The Matthew Shepard Foundation to help carry on his legacy. She has made the prevention of hate crimes the focus of her efforts, and urges her audiences to make their schools and communities safe for everyone, regardless of their race, sex, religion, or gender identity and/or expression.

On the following evening, Thursday, October 27, at 7 p.m., Rider’s Fine Arts Department will perform a dramatic performance of the Laramie Project, which portrays the story of the murder of Matthew Shepard and its effect on the citizens of the town of Laramie,Wyoming. Eight actors portray 60 characters in this powerful testament of the effects of tragedy on a small town. The Laramie Project marks the inaugural performance of the new and expanded Bart Luedeke Center Theater.

Rider University’s Unity Days, held this year from Monday, October 24 through Friday, October 28, traditionally brings students, faculty and staff together, to celebrate all the diverse elements that make up the Rider community. The rest of the 2011 Unity Days schedule, includes:

Monday, October 24

Development in Africa with Brooke Olster

5 p.m., Science Hall, Room 102

Hot Topics Discussion: International Human Rights Issues with Professor William Fernekes

8:30 p.m., Gee Hall

The Scary Guy

7 p.m., Yvonne Theater

Scary is a tattoo artist, performer, film producer, and world citizen who presents his life story and teaches how to create World Peace in our lifetime.

Tuesday, October 25

Dream Act

1:30 to 3:30 p.m., Sweigart Auditorium

A presentation for awareness of the Dream Act, its impact on the lives of undocumented immigrants and their plight toward legal residency.

Religion and Gender 

3 to 5 p.m., North Hall, Room 130

From a religious perspective, an exploration of the history of religion and gender relationships.

Womenspace 2011

5:30 p.m., Bart Luedeke Center Cavalla Room

“Communities of Light” reception event designed to raise awareness of domestic violence and sexual assault. Services will be available to victims and survivors.

Global Women's Issues

11:30 a.m., Princeton Room, Daly Dining Hall

Wednesday, October 26

Passport to the World and Center for International Education Photo Contest

3 p.m., BLC Cavalla Room/Commuter Lounge

Thursday, October 27

International Business Investment

US - Ukraine Business Council with Lada Pastushak

5 p.m., Science Hall Room 201

Women in Athletics

7 p.m., Bart Luedeke Center Fireside

A workshop addressing the perception of “Leadership in Athletics” from a male and female point of view.

Friday, October 28

Homosexuality around the World

11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Bart Luedeke Center Room 257

Rider students will explore the impact society has on homosexuality around the world.

Candlelight Vigil

7 p.m., Westminster Choir College, Great Plains

A short vigil to raise awareness of bullying as a response to the suicides of LGBT youth over the past few years. We will reflect and remember through song and word as a reflection of Westminster's devotion to this cause. Dr. Amanda Quist will also offer inspirational words of hope.