Berea College’s Recognition Ceremony for Mid-Year Graduates was held Sunday, Dec. 9 at 3 p.m. in Phelps Stokes Chapel. Alexander Gibson, executive director of Appalshop, Inc., addressed the 70 seniors who completed their degree requirements this term. The Berea College graduates represented 18 American states and 6 other countries.
Gibson graduated from Berea College in 2008 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in philosophy. He earned his Doctor of Laws degree from the University of Pennsylvania Law School in 2012. He also holds certificates in international comparative law from Queen Mary at the University of London, England and in Thai and Southeast Asian studies from Payap University in Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Appalshop is a multi-media arts organization located in Whitesburg, Kentucky. Before joining Appalshop, Gibson practiced law within the torts, insurance and business litigation practice groups at Stites & Harbison, PLLC in Louisville, Kentucky, and in the business litigation group at Ballard, Spahr, Andrews, and Ingersol in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Prior to private practice, Gibson served as a federal law clerk for the Honorable Thomas W. Phillips, U.S. district judge for the eastern district of Tennessee, where he assisted in the resolution of multi-million dollar law suits, federal criminal trials and critical questions of constitutional law—particularly First Amendment issues. Gibson has provided pro bono legal services to asylum seekers from Central and West Africa, conducted tax workshops in West Philadelphia and taught constitutional law to women’s rights groups in Mombasa, Kenya, following in the wake of Kenyan constitutional reform.
At Berea College, Gibson received, a Bonner Scholarship, the Thornton Wilder Award in Playwriting, Black Cultural Center Student Award for Outstanding Service and a Seabury Award for outstanding scholarship and community leadership. He served as an ex-officio student representative to Board of Trustees from 2004 – 2008 and as student body president during his senior year. Gibson received a Watson Fellowship to conduct a year-long study on identity development of multiracial peoples in former European colonies in Europe, Asia, the Middle East, Africa and South America. He now serves on the Watson Fellowship Selection Committee at his alma mater.