President announces new board chair and dean

April 21, 2009

I am pleased to bring news of two important appointments for the PSR community. The first is that of Sharon MacArthur to be chair of the Board of Trustees, effective at the close of the May Board meeting. Sharon is a PSR alum (MDiv 2001), senior pastor of  Sycamore Congregational Church in El Cerrito and a member of the Board since 2005. The first woman of color to head the Board, Sharon succeeds Jerry Vallery and will serve a three-year term. "I'm very honored and very humbled to be given this position," Sharon says. “I look forward to working with PSR and Bill as he continues his leadership in the Alternative Futures work for the GTU. It will be exciting to bring my no-holds barred commitment to working together with others into play in a new way—a commitment nurtured by life experiences as a local pastor, past preschool teacher, product of a family “tribal” dynamic/tradition. We're all going to have to work together in new ways in these critical times.”

The second appointment, recommended by the PSR faculty and approved by the Board, is that of Mary A. Tolbert to be dean of the faculty and vice president for academic affairs, effective July 1, 2009. Mary is George H. Atkinson Professor of Biblical Studies at PSR and has served as the  executive director of the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies in Religion and Ministry since its founding in 2000. She promises to bring a passion for social justice and an inclusive gospel to the dean’s position. “The next few years are critical for progressive Christianity,” Mary says, “and PSR’s voice must be strengthened for the challenges that lie ahead. I want this seminary not just to survive but to thrive.”

Bill McKinney, President
Pacific School of Religion


To view video of this announcement please visit PSR's media library.