The Mason Public Leadership Lecture: Alana Shepherd

Alana Shepherd will deliver the Mason Public Leadership Lecture, which features prominent business leaders who have contributed significantly to their communities or spend time in a public service role.

Shepherd and her family co-founded Shepherd Center in 1975 in Atlanta to treat spinal cord injuries. Since then, the center has grown from a six-bed unit to a world-renowned, 152-bed rehabilitation hospital specializing in medical treatment, research and rehabilitation for people with spinal cord injury, brain injury and other neurological conditions.

Alana, with her husband Harold and son James, founded Shepherd Center after James sustained a paralyzing spinal cord injury in 1973. Frustrated by the lack of state-of-the-art rehabilitation care in the Southeast, the family galvanized support to open a specialty facility.

Shepherd also recognized the need to change the community to which patients would return so they would be accepted and able to resume their lives. Her advocacy for accessibility resulted in the addition of lifts to the MARTA bus system and in making Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport one of the country’s most accessible.

Shepherd fought to bring the International Paralympic Games to Atlanta in 1996. She changed Olympic and Paralympic history when her efforts led the International Olympic Committee to decree that all cities seeking to be the site of future Olympic Games must include plans and proposed financing for the Paralympics, as well access to the same sites and facilities.

For their contributions to healthcare and the state of Georgia, Alana, Harold and James Shepherd were awarded honorary degrees by the University of Georgia in 2011. Among her many other accolades, Alana received the 2012 J.W. Fanning Award and the Georgia Hospital Association’s 2009 Lifetime Heroic Achievement Award. Sponsored by the Terry College of Business and supported by a contribution from Terry alumnus and lawyer Keith Mason. 

Tuesday, February 19, 2019 at 2:00pm to 3:00pm

109 Herty Field, Athens, GA 30602

Event Type

Lectures and Discussions


Current Students, Alumni, Faculty & Staff, Community, Prospective Students


Public Service and Outreach


Women’s Interest

Institute for Leadership Advancement
Event Contact Name

Allison Porter

Event Contact Phone Number


Event Contact Email

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