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Loyola’s Karson Institute names inaugural senior research fellows

Van Gayton, Th.D., D.Min., and Judge William H. “Billy” Murphy, Jr.
Van Gayton, Th.D., D.Min., (left) and Judge William H. “Billy” Murphy, Jr., are the Karson Institute's inaugural senior research fellows.
The Karson Institute for Race, Peace & Social Justice at Loyola University Maryland named Van Gayton, Th.D., D.Min., and Judge William H. “Billy” Murphy, Jr., as the institute’s inaugural senior research fellows. The Karson Institute’s senior research fellows are scholars of national or international acclaim who are researching race, peace, or social justice issues. They will be in residence at the Karson Institute for the current academic year.

“The Karson Institute Senior Research Fellowship is specifically designed for senior scholars and professionals to come together to research, explore and build upon the equity, diversity, and inclusion work that they have done, either in the academy or in their field. The Karson Institute is here to support them, encourage them, and challenge them to think deeply about how their work can address and potentially answer America’s most urgent questions about racial and economic inequity,” said Karsonya “Kaye” Wise Whitehead, Ph.D., founding director of The Karson Institute. “To that end, we are very excited to welcome Dr. Gayton and Judge Murphy as our inaugural Senior Research Fellows and we look forward to having them engage with both the Loyola community and Baltimore City through their campus talks and community engagement. We know that our community will be challenged and inspired by the important work they are undertaking related to equity and inclusion.”

Gayton will research European colonialism to complete his manuscript, “Reimagining America Again: A Postcolonial Theology,” that expands upon the ideas that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., set forth in “Stride Toward Freedom.”

Gayton has more than 40 years of experience as a professor, pastor, and conference speaker and has trained students and leaders all over the world. He holds several master's and doctorate degrees in theology, including a Doctor of Ministry from the Reformed Theological Seminary. He has taught at Jamestown Community College, the University at Buffalo, and the Bible and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminar in Jacksonville, Fla., where he is currently on the board of advisors. Gayton is a member of the Alliance for Black Pentecostal Scholarship and a member of the Society of Pentecostal Studies.

Murphy will work with Whitehead to research the history of American racism, race, and racialization through the lens of the ideology of racial differences and the methodology of how racial difference is defined and understood to complete their manuscript, which expands upon Henry Louis Gates and Anthony Appiah's work in “Africana: The Encyclopedia of the African American Experience” and Paulo Freire's work in “Pedagogy of the Oppressed.”

Murphy is a senior partner of Murphy, Falcon & Murphy and has been a Baltimore trial attorney for more than 40 years. A Baltimore native, he holds a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a Juris Doctor degree from 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 and has earned many honors, including recognition as the "Top Attorney in Maryland" in 2009 and 2010 by “Baltimore Magazine Super Lawyers” and the American Trial Lawyers Association's "100 Top Trial Lawyers in the U.S." in 2011.

Each senior research fellow will present a lecture during the year that will be open to the public to discuss their research and will participate in Koffee & Konvo, a monthly conversation on race and diversity hosted by the Karson Institute that is open to Loyola students, staff, and faculty.