2018 Commencement Speaker

Posted on Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Professor Larry S. Johnson

Commencement Speaker

Professor of Law, University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law

Larry S. Gibson grew up in Baltimore, MD and then attended Howard University where he was the student government president and a member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity. In 1967, he earned his law degree from Columbia University in New York City.

In 1972 Gibson began teaching at the University of Virginia School of Law. Two years later, he transferred  to  the University of Maryland School of Law, where he is the senior member of the faculty and teaches Race and the Law and Election Law.

Gibson has also taught at the University of Mississippi and the University of Aberdeen (Scotland). He holds honorary doctorate degrees from Morgan State University and Sojourner Douglass College.  He was the 2015 Charles Hamilton Houston Chair at North Carolina Central University School of Law.

Professor Gibson has researched and designed several exhibits, articles, newspaper series, and other presentations on the history of civil rights and African American lawyers.  Professor Gibson was the principal advocate for the law passed by the Maryland General Assembly that renamed the BWI Thurgood Marshal Airport.

Scenes from the 2017 movie ‘Marshall’, the story of Thurgood Marshall (played by another Howard University graduate Chadwick Boseman), are based on Professor Gibson’s book, Young Thurgood: The Making of a Supreme Court Justice (Prometheus Books 2012). Gibson’s book describes the environment, people and events that shaped Thurgood Marshall’s attitudes, work habits, and priorities in his formative years, won a 2013 International Book Award for biography. The Justice’s wife, Cecilia Marshall, calls it “the most accurate book ever published about my husband.”

Gibson has served on the Board of Trustees of the Maryland Historical Trust, the Baltimore City Commission for Historical and Architectural Preservation, and the Baltimore City Board of School Commissioners.

During the administration of President Jimmy Carter, Gibson served in the Department of Justice as an Associate Deputy Attorney General and as the Director of the National Economic Crimes Project.  He was Vice Chair of the National Security Council’s Working Group on Terrorism.

Gibson is of counsel to the Baltimore law firm Shapiro, Sher, Guinot & Sandler.  He has visited more than 65 countries in the world.