Graduates from across the United States and the Bahamas attending the 2022 Alumni Homecoming represented years of eternal influence that founders Dr. Arlin and Beka Horton have had on so many. Alumni arrived in Pensacola with their families, excited to revisit their alma mater, reunite with friends, and be reinspired by the thriving ministry at Pensacola Christian College.
Throughout the year, PCC keeps graduates updated with on-campus happenings through social media and The Update Magazine. But each fall alumni are invited to “come home,” relive their best college memories, and remember those formative years that led them to where they are today.
Special Events for Graduates and Their Families
On the first floor of the Academic Building, friendly greeters handed attendees gift bags containing commemorative T-shirts and coasters. Then they invited the alumni to visit college classes, tour facilities behind-the-scenes, enjoy recreation at the Sports Center and Camp o’ the Pines, eat great food, and much more.
Lisa Bembeneck (History ’13, M.S. ’15), an Abeka employee, relished stepping back in time for a weekend. “It was very relaxing, and the attention to all the details was amazing,” she said. “I so enjoyed all the perks of getting an alumni lanyard, pen, a copy of The Update, free Planetarium tickets, and more. I appreciate how PCC seeks to help students grow in all areas, not just academics. The life lessons that came from [residence hall] life, attending Fine Arts events, juggling work and school, and always being around people were invaluable.”
“It was very relaxing, and the attention to all the details was amazing.”
Events kicked off in the MacKenzie Great Hall with appetizers and this year’s special guests: President Emeritus Arlin Horton, Dr. Phyllis Rand, Dr. Denis McBride, and Dr. Matt Beemer. Other activities included an Eagles soccer game, a tailgate cookout, an early morning Eagles 5K, and a special brunch for those celebrating milestone anniversaries.
At the brunch, College President Troy Shoemaker led a heartfelt Q&A session with the special guests, who shared their favorite campus events and personal experiences over the years. When asked what was most memorable about Pensacola Christian College, each answered that it was the people—fellow faculty members, students, and mentors—both the individuals that they invested in and those who invested in them.
The unforgettable weekend concluded with a formal dinner where Dr. Shoemaker answered alumni’s previously submitted questions as well as impromptu ones from present guests. He announced new degrees PCC will offer, upcoming renovations to expect, and anticipated technology advancements, among others.
Teachers from Mississippi, Bill Morris (Elementary Education ’02), and his wife April (Secretarial ’00), especially enjoyed listening to Dr. Shoemaker speak. “His openness and sincerity are always felt,” Bill explained. “I enjoyed hearing his heart in the answers he gave as well as the emotion in his voice as he tried to convey what was in his heart.”
How PCC Invests in Graduates
As students, each alumni benefitted from low tuition. “But what we might not know is how we got that low tuition,” said Dr. Shoemaker at the Alumni Dinner. “The College owns the intellectual property included in Abeka textbooks and earns royalties that contribute to keeping tuition low.” For the 2022−2023 school year, tuition, room and board is $13,538, which is roughly half the actual cost of the over $25,000 that students would be paying. “In reality, every student gets about a 50% discount, which goes back to Dr. Horton’s good business sense,” Shoemaker added.
Seth Neds (Computer Information Systems ’17, M.B.A. ’21), who serves at PCC as an IT business solutions architect, said, “I appreciated the commitment and generosity of PCC and Dr. Shoemaker to provide an amazingly inexpensive college education.”
Since graduation, alumni have pursued careers and ministries and become successful—many of them without debt—and have much to share with the next generation. Through PCC’s Career Services and the Alumni Association platforms, alumni can connect with other alumni and current students looking for insight and advice as they explore their futures. The Association offers opportunities to mentor students or give financially, providing a fulfilling ministry for both giver and recipient.
Another way to keep alumni connected to their alma mater has been The Update, published since 1974 to highlight alumni success stories and share campus events and news. Featuring a new format and content and fresh photography, this revamped publication is assembled for alumni, family, and friends. Redesigned and expanded, this magazine will be sent out in November. But as a surprise, Homecoming attendees were gifted an early-release copy of the magazine.
PCC employee Mark Smith (Secondary Education ’81, M.S. ’84) was thrilled. “I love the reimagined Update. It will help all of us to see how PCC’s mission truly is being fulfilled around the world.” He also valued the chance to reminisce with classmates he hadn’t seen in over 40 years and to engage with others in the future through the Association. “I’m grateful for the investment to enable former classmates to reconnect, both on campus as well as across the country,” he shared.
As PCC’s 50th year approaches, Dr. Shoemaker plans to share alumni’s favorite memories as a keepsake. Submissions are being collected and will be shared on social media and in a commemorative memory book compiled by Dr. Phyllis Rand.
The legacy of PCC continues as generations of students graduate, prepared to influence the world for Christ. “I am so grateful for the faithfulness of PCC staff and faculty,” said homeschool mom Hope Kilstrom (Elementary Education ’95, M.S. ’99). She and her husband Tor (M.A. ’00), the administrative pastor at Shining Light Baptist Church, came from North Carolina to visit their alma mater as well as their college kids. “Every time we come back on campus, it feels like coming home,” she remembered. “Now that we have children attending here, we are able to introduce them to dear servants of God who have been an example of faithfulness through the years and impacted my life so much.”
Many times, students’ lives are changed for eternity during their time on campus. “In the spring of my freshman year, I asked the Lord to be my Savior,” shared Dr. Linda Williams (Elementary Education ’84, M.S. ’96). “Thus, PCC is the foundation of my Christian life and has been the place of my growth over the years.” Chapel speakers and various campus events developed her walk with the Lord. “I’ve been here since the fall of 1980,” she continued. “And I can say that I’ve seen this place grow and change in many ways, but the mission of helping young people come to know the Lord and grow spiritually has never wavered.”
“The mission of helping young people come to know the Lord and grow spiritually has never wavered.”
Dr. Shoemaker’s desire for this special weekend was to answer alumni queries and to instill confidence that PCC maintains Dr. Horton’s vision to withhold timeless values. “I share Dr. Horton’s prayer,” said Dr. Shoemaker. “He prayed for many years, ‘Lord, give me a vision for what you can do through me today.’ It’s a great prayer and I’ve added to that: Give me a vision for what you can do through me today—but also a vision for where we can be tomorrow.”
Want to join us next year? Keep an eye out for the 2023 Alumni Homecoming!