Randall Shepard honored for 5+ decades of preservation leadership

Shepard will receive Indiana Landmarks’ 2023 Williamson Prize for outstanding leadership in historic preservation on September 9.

In recognition of decades spent advocating for Indiana’s historic buildings, Evansville native and former Indiana Supreme Court Chief Justice Randall Shepard will receive Indiana Landmarks’ 2023 Williamson Prize for outstanding leadership in historic preservation.

“Randy championed preservation before it was common to consider the value of historic places,” says Marsh Davis, president of Indiana Landmarks. “We’ve been the fortunate beneficiaries of his experience and thoughtful leadership for more than 40 years, and we owe much of our success to his long involvement with our organization.”

As executive assistant to Evansville Mayor Russell Lloyd in the 1970s, Shepard helped find people to staff the city’s first preservation commission. When the federal government prepared to move out of the city’s 1879 Post Office and Customs House, he convinced city officials to take title to the property.
He recognized the significance of the Gothic landmark designed by Architect of the Treasury William Appleton Potter, who also designed several buildings at Princeton University, Shepard’s alma mater.

“Even though we didn’t know our plans for it, we wanted to make sure the government didn’t sell the building to someone who wouldn’t do anything with it,” says Shepard.

Today the landmark thrives as a venue for offices and events.

In 1979, the National Trust for Historic Preservation gave the City of Evansville its public service award for its significant investment in local landmarks, including the Old Post Office. Shepard later served on the National Trust’s board of advisors, lending his expertise to preservation issues nationwide.

In 1985, he joined other local investors to help save the 1868 “Manor House,” a grand Italianate in Evansville’s Riverside neighborhood that was crumbling from neglect. Shepard helped secure the federal rehabilitation tax credits used to transform the building into luxury apartments, the first such project in the city to use the incentive.

“I think there is broader interest today in the value of preservation among the general public, community and business leaders than there has been in the past,” said Shepard. “People who aren’t ‘preservationists’ stop to contemplate preservation as an option, and that’s incredibly hopeful.”

As he rose to become Vanderburgh County Superior Court judge and ultimately chief justice of the Indiana Supreme Court, Shepard earned a reputation for championing judicial landmarks. In Evansville, he served as president of Conrad Baker Foundation, which led efforts to save the Old Vanderburgh County Courthouse and champion its reuse as offices and an events center.

During his time on the Indiana Supreme Court, Shepard led efforts to restore the historic splendor of the Supreme Court courtroom, robing room and library at the Indiana Statehouse, supporting a project that restored the 1887 paint scheme and recreated historic lighting fixtures.

Shepard also chaired the state’s Courthouse Preservation Advisory Commission, a group charged with studying the condition of Indiana’s historic courthouses and offering preservation recommendations.

Shepard joined Indiana Landmarks’ board of directors in the 1980s and served as chair in the 1990s. Today he continues to lend his expertise as chairman emeritus.

Shepard will be honored as part of Indiana Landmarks’ annual meeting in Indianapolis on September 9.


Mindi Woolman, Indiana Landmarks, 317-639-4534, 317-417-1204 (cell),


About the Williamson Prize:
In naming this individual award, Indiana Landmarks honors the impactful career of J. Reid Williamson, Jr., president of Indiana Landmarks from 1973 to 2005. A change agent for the organization and the state, Reid Williamson advanced the preservation movement by stressing the importance of local preservation organizations and by using restoration as a tool to revitalize entire neighborhoods and towns. Under his leadership, Indiana Landmarks created regional offices to serve the entire state, and grew in membership, staff and endowment. The Williamson Prize includes a $1,000 cash award and the Williamson Prize sculpture by Evansville artist John McNaughton.

Indiana Landmarks revitalizes communities, strengthens connections to our diverse heritage, and saves meaningful places. With nine offices located throughout the state, Indiana Landmarks helps people rescue endangered landmarks and restore historic neighborhoods and downtowns. People who join Indiana Landmarks receive its bimonthly magazine, Indiana Preservation. For more information on the not-for-profit organization, call 317-639-4534, 800-450-4534, or visit

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