Loyola University Maryland

The Karson Institute for Race, Peace & Social Justice

Senior Research Fellows


The Karson Institute Senior Research Fellow must be a senior scholar of national or international acclaim researching race, peace, or social justice issues. They will be in residence for up to one academic year at the Karson Institute and will offer both a campus/community-wide lecture and host a Koffee and Konvo for students discussing their background and their research project.

Inaugural Senior Research Fellows, Dr. Van Gayton, and Attorney Billy Murphy will be in residence from Sept 1, 2021 - May 15, 2023.

  Van Gayton, Th.D., D.Min., and Judge William H. “Billy” Murphy, Jr. in formal clothing

William Murphy, Jr., Esq.

While in residence with the Karson Institute, Billy Murphy and Karsonya Wise Whitehead will work together to research the history of American racism, race, and racialization, through the lens of both ideology (of racial differences) and methodology (in how racial difference is defined and understood) to complete their manuscript that expands upon Henry Louis Gates and Anthony Appiah's work in Africana and Paulo Freire's work in Pedagogy of the Oppressed.  

As the senior partner of Murphy, Falcon & Murphy, Judge William H. “Billy” Murphy, Jr. stands on a respected legacy of legal counsel. He has been a Baltimore trial attorney for decades, aggressively and effectively handling a broad range of ongoing cases. A Baltimore native, My Murphy completed a B.S. in electrical engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, before going on to the University of Maryland School of Law, where he was a member of the Law Review. In 1980, Murphy was elected to Baltimore's Circuit Court (Maryland's highest-level trial court), on which he served as a judge for two and a half years before resigning. As an attorney, Judge Murphy has a 90% success rate in state court cases; a 40% success rate in federal cases, which is four times higher than the national average (9%); and over 40 years of experience. Judge Murphy's work has earned numerous honors, including recognition as the "Top Attorney in Maryland" by Baltimore Magazine Super Lawyers, for both 2009 and 2010, and listing among the American Trial Lawyers Association's "100 Top Trial Lawyers in the U.S.", in 2011.

Dr. Van Gayton, D.Min.

While in residence with the Karson Institute, Dr. Van Gayton will research European colonialism, with the hermeneutics of suspicion, critical race theory, and a Christological lens to complete his manuscript, Reimagining America Again: A Postcolonial Theology, that expands upon the ideas that Dr. King set forth in Stride Toward Freedom. He argues that European colonialism is at the root of racism and that America must acknowledge and deal with this legacy, through the painful process of decolonizing the racial imaginations.  

Dr. Van Gayton has over 40 years of experience as a professor, pastor, and conference speaker, and in teaching and training students and leaders all over the world. He holds a number of Master's and Doctorate degrees in Theology, most recently receiving a Doctor of Ministry from Reformed Theological Seminary.  He has taught subjects such as Philosophy of Religion at Jamestown Community College, The African American Religious Experience at the University at Buffalo, and the Bible and Race at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. He is presently on the board of advisors for Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary, in Jacksonville, Florida. Dr. Gayton is a member of the Alliance for Black Pentecostal Scholarship and a member of the Society of Pentecostal Studies.

race · peace · social justice

Join the conversation on social media