PSR honors distinguished alumni/ae for 2009

Each year, PSR’s Alumni/ae Council presents Distinguished Alumnie/ae Awards to graduates who have provided outstanding service in their ministry or profession and have shown distinguished leadership in faith communities on a local, regional, or national level. One family of alums—two of whom are featured beginning on page 1—and two other individuals were chosen for the award this year and were honored on campus prior to the Alumnni/ae Banquet on January 28.

James Corson, MDiv 1955, served in the California-Nevada Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church for more than 47 years. After pastoring, he moved to campus ministry for 10 years, at Stanford University and then UC Berkeley. He served for 11 years as pastor of Burlingame UMC, and his final appointment was for nearly 10 years on the annual conference staff as director for the Conference Council on Ministries. In that assignment, he was involved in the move of conference offices from San Francisco to West Sacramento, where he and his wife Jane continue to live after his retirement.

John Corson, MDiv 1960, served several churches in California, including a rural church in Gerber, an historic Japanese-American congregation in Loomis, Alum Rock UMC in San Jose, and a church in Bakersfield, concluding his active ministry at San Ramon UMC in Alamo in June 2001. His UMC leadership roles included chairing the 1992 General Conference Delegation, Western Jurisdiction Episcopacy Committee, and serving as a delegate to World Methodist Conferences in Hawaii, Brazil, Singapore, and England. He and his wife Sylvia have traveled to more than 60 countries.

Richard Corson, MDiv 1970, met and married Roberta Bassett while they earned their PSR degrees, and served with her in various parishes: Taylor Memorial, in Oakland; Bethany, in Bakersfield; Temple, in San Francisco; and in Campbell. They also participated in mission projects in Mexico, Bolivia, Peru, and, most recently, New Orleans. In retirement, he enjoys poetry, photography, hiking, and the clergy couple’s two grandchildren.

Roberta Corson, MDiv 1969, met her husband Richard Corson at PSR, and for 38 years, until their retirement in 2006, this clergy couple served in United Methodist ministry together. While serving the Campbell, CA UMC, Roberta enrolled in and finished a PhD program in clinical psychology and received a state license as a psychologist. After her retirement from church ministry, she is now engaged in private psychotherapy practice in Saratoga.

Herb Dimock, MDiv 1943, has had a long career in ministry, teaching, and writing. He founded the Arlington Avenue Church in Kensington, CA and has served several other churches. He has written a dozen books, including Skid Road Letters—to Larry, about his work as director of the First Avenue Service Center in Seattle from 1969 to 1971. Herb also served as professor of humanities at the University of Puget Sound and recently created Eddy Publishing, through which  all of his books are available.

Lynice Pinkard, MDiv/MA 1998, has dedicated her life to the work of ministry: pastoring, community organizing and engagement, writing, advocacy, counseling, and healing. Much of her scholarship has focused on the intersection of gender, racial, and spiritual identity, and she has paid particular attention to issues of homo-negativity in the black church and community. A founding elder and former associate pastor of City of Refuge United Church of Christ in San Francisco, she is now senior pastor of First Congregational Church of Oakland.

The Alumni/ae Council invites nomination for next year’s Distinguished Alumni/ae Award. The criteria include impact on one’s chosen ministry, leadership in the church, service to PSR, and community involvement. For more information, see the “Distinguished Alumni/ae” section at