Pensacola Christian College Founder and President Arlin Horton has announced his retirement effective May 10, 2012, concluding 38 years of exceptional leadership at Pensacola Christian College and 58 years at Pensacola Christian Academy. Below is the announcement he shared with the PCC student body on February 7.
It is my privilege to give a brief 60-year historical overview of Pensacola Christian College and its related ministries. Beka and I graduated from college in 1951. One year later, we came to Pensacola and started this ministry. We never had long-range goals, only a day or year at a time. Our desire was to do what’s right and serve the Lord with all our heart. We anticipated having a large family, but God did not lead that way. Instead, we have spent our time in God’s work with leadership responsibility. Personal desires have always been subordinated to ministry responsibilities. It is amazing what the Lord has done. We see this ministry as God’s doing.
Camp o’ the Pines began in 1953. Since then, over 37,000 children have attended camp, with countless decisions for Christ. In recent years, our summer Sports Center Day Camp, academic camps, and Teen Extreme camps have all had a strong outreach ministry, teaching youth about Christ. This past summer, over 5,000 campers attended our camp programs.
In 1954, Pensacola Christian School had a humble beginning with 35 students in kindergarten through second grade. In 1995, after moving into the new building on Brent Lane, it was renamed Pensacola Christian Academy. Since 1970, over 2,000 students in kindergarten through grade 12 have received their education each year. They are always spiritually impacted, and many for salvation. Many of their families are also spiritually impacted.
In 1969, our educational clinics began: first the Principals Clinic, then Summer Seminar and Teachers Clinic began. About 93,000 Christian school principals and teachers have attended clinics in Pensacola. The Academy continues to host these clinics each year in the fall, spring, and summer. Christian schools in the U.S. and other countries have also been impacted by Regional Clinics and In-Service Training Seminars. Approximately 100,000 educators have attended these education clinics across the nation in past years.
In 1971, our WPCS Christian radio began. In 1996, it became RBN (Rejoice Broadcast Network). It now includes 39 satellite stations; KPCS in Princeton, Minnesota; and worldwide streaming on the Internet. Rejoice in the Lord TV, which is taped in our Sunday church services (Dr. Mullenix’s messages and our music), is now on eleven stations plus Daystar and receives a wonderful response.
In 1973, Pensacola Christian School first published curriculums for Christian schools. Buzz Baker, an administrator at that time, introduced us to a wealthy man in Chicago, who visited our small school. He liked what he saw and financed the printing of several books: little K5 readers, grades 3–8 arithmetic books, and a fifth grade reader, Of America. This motivated us to write other books that our students needed. Abeka Book was the first to publish Christian textbooks. Because my wife, Beka, spearheaded and guided these projects, Buzz Baker called it Abeka Book.
Today, 10,288 Christian schools and daycares and more than 105,000 homeschoolers use our books. This year, around 730,000 students are learning from Abeka Book. We anticipate 40,000 students will be on the virtual Abeka Academy this year.
In 1974, Pensacola Christian College began with 100 students. This past fall, over 3,800 students were enrolled in undergraduate, graduate, and seminary areas. Today there are over 16,600 PCC graduates serving around the world.
The summer of 1974, just before the first semester of Pensacola Christian College, the Campus Church began. The Campus Church continues today to be a strong spiritual influence for students, faculty, and community folk. God has given us good pastors. We are grateful for Pastor Denis McBride, whose messages are greatly used by God.
Joyful Life Sunday school literature was first published in 2003 for nursery age through adults. Over 2,000 churches now use these materials.
To God be the Glory!
The main goal of this ministry has always been to glorify God by teaching and reaching others for Christ. God has given us a beautiful College campus and Academy (kindergarten through grade 12) and Camp o’ the Pines facility. We say, “To God be the Glory!”
Retirement and Next President
My wife, Beka, and I never thought about retiring from this ministry until late last spring. The Lord began to confirm to us that it was His time for us to retire. We then began to pray that God would lead us and the board regarding who the next president should be.
At our November board meeting, I told the Board of Directors that we were planning to retire after the May 2012 College Convocation. I told the board that I felt Dr. Troy Shoemaker had the best qualifications to be the next president for this very diverse ministry. Beka and I have grown up with it over the years. Because of the heavy responsibility of such a large and diverse ministry as this, the president needs to be a person who can have the ministry continue what it is today.
Dr. Shoemaker is a 1989 PCC graduate. He received an education specialist degree from the University of West Florida in 1994 and in 2007 a doctorate of education from PCC. He started college when students walked across the railroad tracks to go to church and to chapel. He later served in this ministry for 22 years. For his first three years, he taught upper-level science and math courses at the Academy. At that time, Dr. Rosann Petermeyer was the principal of grades 7–12. When she retired because of illness, she recommended Dr. Shoemaker as her replacement. He then became the high school principal. Later he served as administrator for 16 years over the entire Academy, kindergarten through high school. He was an excellent administrator and came to the College three years ago to guide the academic areas. As academic vice president, he gave oversight to all College academic areas and continued overseeing the Academy. He knew how to select other leaders. We found him to be very capable in all areas. Recently, he led our faculty in successfully moving the accreditation process along.
Above all, we believe Dr. Shoemaker has the character to do what’s right. He can make tough decisions that top leaders need to make. He is 45 years old, which is an ideal time to take on larger responsibilities. In fact, I was that age when Pensacola Christian College began.
The Board of Directors unanimously voted Dr. Shoemaker to be the next president with full responsibility over the College, the Academy, and all related ministries. Dr. Shoemaker’s presidency will begin the day after our May 9th Convocation.
As president, I will remain in charge until after Convocation. The next day, Dr. Shoemaker will assume the responsibility as president.
We praise God for His blessing on the ministry of Pensacola Christian College, and for the wonderful way God has worked to prepare PCC for the future.