The Distinguished Alumnus/a Award is bestowed annually upon an extraordinary Claremont School of Theology graduate at Alumni/ae and Friends Day. It is given to someone who is an agent of transformation and healing in the church, their local communities, schools, non-profit institutions, and the world at large, who is working to bring peaceful coexistence and collaboration with other cultures and religions, or other endeavors that embody the mission and values of CST. This year's Distinguished Alumnus Award recipient is Larry Hixon ThM '59.
Rev. Larry W. Hixon, Th.M. ’59
After graduating seminary in 1959, Larry served as the Associated Pastor at Pasadena Christian Church before his calling to lead in the Bella Vista/Eastmont Parish. Just one year after starting in his new parish, Larry developed a community center whose purpose was to serve the needs of the Hispanic community in Eastmont. The community center became a hub of ministry to and with the people living in the area, offering tutoring, family counseling, language classes, boys and girls clubs, and the site of a Headstart program. Larry successfully launched Eastmont as an effective community center that today, forty years later, is continuing its vibrant ministry in East Los Angeles.
While serving in Eastmont, Larry also partnered with the Rev. Dennis Short founding the Unity Walk, an event bringing Disciples of Christ congregations together from across the Pacific Southwest Region to raise money for the Community Center and other justice oriented ministries. The first of these walks was held in 1971 and was 25 miles long, raising over $15,000 and eventually raising over half a million dollars in the years the walk continued.
Following his tenure at Eastmont, Larry became the Associate Director for Christian Rural Overseas Program (CROP), where he increased awareness of world hunger issues and solutions. Larry continued his justice work by serving as the Director of Hope Net, a consortium of several congregations in Los Angeles, whose purpose was to build low income housing and offer job training, health care and other services. Throughout Larry’s years in ministry, and continuing into his retirement, he has relentlessly pursued peace and justice. As a member of the Disciples’ Social Concerns Committee, he has organized communities to take action on civil rights issues, the Vietnam War, poverty, fair housing, sexual orientation and the like. Larry’s commitment to social justice has even gotten him arrested after non-violently opposing environmental devastation. For the past 11 years he has organized and participated in an annual mission trip to both Nicaragua and Guatemala, doing hands-on work with the mission outposts in each country. He just got home from a trip to Nicaragua on January 15th 2013.