Randall T. Shepard, former chief justice of the Indiana Supreme Court, will be the speaker at Valparaiso University’s May 20 ceremonies honoring graduates.

Shepard became chief justice at the age of 40 in 1987, becoming the youngest chief justice in the nation at that time. He retired from the Indiana Supreme Court in March after 27 total years of service. In April 2012, he was named a distinguished senior judge on the Court of Appeals of Indiana.

Shepard, who will receive an honorary degree from Valparaiso University Law School at the law school’s graduation on May 19, is a seventh-generation Hoosier who was born in Lafayette. He has an undergraduate degree from Princeton University, a law degree from Yale Law School, and a master of laws degree from the University of Virginia Law School.

In 2005, the National Association of Women Judges honored him with the Norma Wickler Excellence in Service Award. In 2006, the Indiana Black Expo presented him with its Lifetime Achievement Award for his contributions to equal opportunity. He received the Dwight D. Opperman Award for Judicial Excellence in 2009.

His national leadership positions include chairing the American Bar Association’s Appellate Judges Conference; chairing the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar; and serving in 2006 as leader of the National Conference of Chief Justices. In 2007, he was named co-chair of Indiana’s Local Government Reform Commission.

Shepard authored more than 940 majority opinions for the Indiana Supreme Court, and published more than 65 law review articles in 23 different journals.

Before he was named to the Indiana Supreme Court, he spent five years as a trial judge, and before entering the judiciary he practiced law, served as executive assistant to the mayor of Evansville, and was special assistant to the Undersecretary of Transportation in Washington, D.C.

A committed preservationist, he served 11 years as a trustee of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and three years as chairman of Indiana Landmarks.

Ceremonies for more than 700 Valparaiso University undergraduate and graduate students who are receiving degrees will begin at 1:30 p.m. on Sunday, May 20, in the Athletics-Recreation Center. More information on commencement can be found at valpo.edu/commencement/.