January 13, 2020 12:00 pm

It is with deep sorrow that Chancellor Michele Johnson shared the news that our beloved friend and colleague Denise Yochum passed away early in the morning on Jan. 13 after a long, courageous battle with cancer.
 
Denise served as president at Pierce College Fort Steilacoom for 13 years, retiring last January. Denise’s commitment to student success and her dedicated service to the college was exemplary.  She has also been an active and beloved member in the local community, a state leader, and was a shining example of leadership that was grounded in integrity, skill, and courage.
 
During her time with us, Denise led the college through a number of large-scale construction and renovation projects, including a new science and math building (with an interactive Science Dome), and improved classroom and student services spaces for student success.  She also played an integral role in helping the college make remarkable strides in closing equity gaps for all students, doubling graduation rates between 2010 and 2018.
  
Denise’s thoughtful, caring, outgoing personality and sharp mind has endeared her to us now and long into the future, Dr. Johnson said. Her spirit and energy will forever be present at Pierce College.
 
She will be greatly missed by the college community and by many who were fortunate enough to call her a friend.
 
Denise is survived by her husband Eric, sons Eric and Kyle, five grandchildren, and a large extended family.  A memorial service will be held at Pierce College Fort Steilacoom in the next few weeks.