Mrs. Denise Shoemaker has been Assistant to the President at Pensacola Christian College since 2012 and acts as the Secretary to the Board of Directors. She joined staff in 1989 as a PCC graduate, leading with grace in roles such as General Office Manager and Director of Office Services for many years. For her 33 years of service at PCC, Mrs. Shoemaker was honored with a Summit yearbook dedication this past year. In her current role, she supports and assists her husband, Dr. Troy Shoemaker, in leading PCC by providing guidance to several operational areas of the ministry.
1. Where are you originally from?
Growing up in rural Michigan made for an enjoyable childhood. I’ll always be a proud Michigander. The great church and Christian school I attended were just down the road and we were always very involved in that ministry.
2. What brought you to PCC?
Throughout my years in high school, I always wanted to attend PCC. College groups would often visit my school, and their influence was pivotal. When my older sister decided to come the year before I did, I have to admit being a little miffed. PCC was my college. But, it’s amazing to look back now and see that the Lord has brought my entire family to the Pensacola area. I love that He guides our steps!
3. You’ve held a variety of positions within the ministry over your time at PCC. How did your previous positions inform your current role as assistant to the president?
Working in a variety of office jobs at the College ultimately led to serving as the Director of Office Services for 15 years. That background sparked a passion to develop people both personally and professionally. I was also blessed to have Mrs. Beka Horton as a mentor. Her influence helped me navigate learning a new role supporting my husband.
4. What verse or passage have you found yourself studying and learning from more often presently?
Phil. 4:6—“Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.” This is a familiar verse that has been near to my heart in recent years. It’s a reminder to me to look for the positive in every situation, and as I approach God with needs, to have a thankful heart—He has been so good to both our personal and ministry family.
5. You and Dr. Troy Shoemaker transitioned into leading PCC 10 years ago. How has your insight on leading an educational institution developed since then?
Leading is about doing what’s in the best interest of the people we serve and doing so in this ministry is a privilege we never anticipated. These last 10 years have deepened my understanding to be intentionally mindful for what is happening around us, which often means thinking outside the box for a solution. Because we are just two people, it isn’t possible to personally meet the needs of so many. It is a precious blessing, and we are so thankful that the Lord has brought such a wonderful team of passionate and committed leaders to work alongside.
6. Why is it important to continue offering education from a Christian traditional perspective?
What PCC provides in a traditional Christian education is distinctive from many other college settings. This is so vital because we’re not just offering career preparation; we are empowering Christian leaders that will advance the cause of Christ in their homes, churches, and in our country. Because I’m not a teacher and love being behind the scenes, I’m very proud to serve and support the faculty and administrators in the fulfillment of our mission.
7. What PCC traditional events are your favorites, and can you share a memory about them?
I really enjoy seeing students get involved and immerse themselves in campus life, so events like Christmas Lights Celebration, Fine Arts productions, Eagles sports, and Turkey Bowl are a lot of fun. But, Bible Conference would top my list—having the opportunity to hear the music and preaching and see God work in lives is most meaningful. In fact, a memorable moment happened there several years ago; Chamber Ensemble sang “Behold Our God.” It was so powerfully presented that the song has become a personal favorite.
8. Our students are known to volunteer their time and support through Christian Service groups and events such as the Mission Project and Serve Pensacola. How are you encouraged by their heart to help others?
PCC students constantly amaze me in how they use their talents and compassion for others. Seeing how freely they share what they have—Christ, time, encouragement, possessions, etc.—is a testimony and daily reminder to personally live life in the same way. As a result, my husband and I look for ways to contribute and participate with them to show support for student initiatives.
9. The new semester is right around the corner. What goals do you have for the upcoming school year?
That is a great question. A specific goal is to become more effective in my role as assistant to the president and secretary to the Board of Directors. My husband hosts leadership sessions where we often explore things that will help us professionally and inspire us to motivate others to success. When we all have a vision for where we are headed, understand that we contribute value in our role, and have a heart to serve, then we go the extra mile—working with enthusiasm and serving with excellence.
10. What advice would you give to incoming students who are excited to begin their PCC journey?
Be all in! While it is life-changing to move away from home, there is a great experience that lies ahead of you. Give your best effort to your studies, get involved in your collegian, and be part of Christian Service opportunities. My best advice is to embrace the opportunity and know that we are eager to help you along the way as you prepare for God’s calling on your life. Welcome to the PCC family!
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.