Professor Larry Gibson passes the torch at Black Law Alumni Reunion

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(l-r) Professor Larry Gibson, Professor and Associate Dean Russell McClain ’95 

The University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law hosted the Black Law Alumni Reunion the weekend of Sept. 22-24. Graduates caught up at special events and were the first to hear some big law school announcements. 

At the welcome reception on Friday evening, Professor Larry Gibson, who has been the faculty coordinator for the Black Law Alumni Reunion since the tradition began in 2003, passed that privilege and duty to Professor Russell McClain ’95, associate dean for diversity and inclusion. 

“I want to thank Professor Gibson for his incredible leadership all these years,” said Dean Renée McDonald Hutchins. “I also want to express my gratitude to Dean McClain for taking on this important role.”  

The official passing of the torch took place during the ribbon cutting for Gibson’s new photography exhibit, “Down Memory Lane,” featuring candids of Black law alumni from the 1970s to the present. Together, Gibson and McClain opened the exhibit, and the leadership transfer was symbolically complete. 

Following the reception, classes gathered in smaller groups to socialize over dessert and take pictures. 

Plans for Saturday included a breakfast with members of the Black Law Students Association, an alumni debate, and an evening cabaret. Tropical Storm Ophelia, however, forced a logistical pivot. Many of Saturday’s activities moved to Sunday. The highlight was a luncheon at which the assemblage was the first to hear about the launch of the Gibson-Banks Center for Race and the Law. 

Professor Michael Pinard, the center’s inaugural faculty director gave remarks outlining the center’s goals. “The center will be community focused, responsive to issues identified by individuals and communities living through racial and intersectional oppression,” he said.  “Our aim is to be a robust, action-oriented center that accounts for the past and helps vision the future—of where we should be, of where we need to be, and of where we are entitled to be.” 

Pinard also introduced the center’s first research fellow Brandon Miller ’25, supported by a generous gift from U.S. Attorney for the District of Maryland Erek Barron, and announced its first event, an upcoming conference, co-sponsored by the Gibson-Banks Center, celebrating Professor Matiangai Sirleaf’s new book Race and National Security. 

Also offering remarks was prominent Baltimore attorney, the Honorable William H. “Billy” Murphy ’69, who has made a transformational $1 million gift to help the center get off the ground. Murphy regaled the crowd with stories about his long friendship with Gibson, one of the center’s namesakes, and thanked organizers for making the dream of the Gibson-Banks Center for Race and the Law come true. Although unable to attend the luncheon, the Honorable Andre M. Davis ’78 also made a generous $50,000 commitment to support the new center. 

Before the crowd dispersed, alums posed for the traditional group photo.

Meant to be honored at the luncheon was the Honorable George L. Russell, Jr. ’54, who was unable to attend because of the schedule change. Organizers are considering options for a future celebration of the former law firm partner, Baltimore City solicitor, and Maryland Circuit Court judge. 

“This event is one of Maryland Carey Law’s most sacred traditions and we are grateful that so many alumni were able to join us despite the weather interruptions,” said Assistant Dean for Development and Alumni Relations Shara Boonshaft. “It was especially meaningful to be able to share the announcement of the new Gibson-Banks Center with this group ahead of the official press release the next day. We look forward to keeping this important tradition going for future generations of Maryland Carey Law alumni to further honor Professor Gibson’s legacy.” 

Maryland Carey Law is grateful to the Black Law Alumni Reunion committee members for their dedication to the law school community: 

Jan M. Alexander '85 

James R. Benjamin, Jr. '01 

Marc S. Broady '16 

Joanne Saunders Brooks '85 

Jamar R. Brown '11 

Beverly B. Carter '83 

Toi Y. Carter '83 

Sylvester B. Cox, Jr. '83 

Angela J. Davis '02 

Emerson L. Dorsey, Jr. '79 

James H. Fields '91 

Patricia L. Gatling '82 

Cornelia Bright Gordon '80 

Quinton M. Herbert '03 

Thomas H. Herndon, Jr. '02 

Marcella A. Holland '83 

Glendora C. Hughes '78 

Jessica A. Hurtado '10 

Wm. Carl Isler, II '04 

Harry S. Johnson '79 

Franklin M. Lee '80 

Dawn S. Lettman '85 

Zakia Mahasa '86 

Michelle Wilson McGlawn '04 

Ferne L. Mosley '91

Tonya Odom '87

Midgett S. Parker, Jr. '85 

Rhonda Pindell-Charles '79 

Carolyn Z. Powers-Brown '84 

Kimberly W. Ross '93 

Rebecca Tabb Simmons '87 

Michael S. Studdard '94 

Charles E. Sydnor, III '00 

Danielle Torain-Victor '10 

Tony W. Torain, II '11 

Craig A. Thompson '95 

Brandon E. Thornton '02 

Sakkara Y. Turpin '14 

Daniel Woubishet '02 

David W. Young '77