Pierce College Fort Steilacoom President Medically Retires

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Pierce College Fort Steilacoom President Medically Retires

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“I needed to make a choice,” Yochum said.

Denise Yochum, Pierce College Fort Steilacoom’s now-former president, has medically retired due to her ongoing battle with metastatic breast cancer. After multiple surgeries and a month-long hospitalization, she realized she could not get healthy and give the college her best work.

“I needed to make a choice,” Yochum said. “I chose to work to get healthy and to let the college move forward.”

Yochum served as president for 13 years, but her work at Pierce was cut short; she said she was expecting to work for another 10 years.

Deidre Soileau will serve as interim president for Pierce College Fort Steilacoom until June 30, while Chancellor Michele Johnson directs a national search for a new, permanent president.

Yochum sent an email to the college district announcing her retirement Wednesday.

“It is with a heavy heart that I write to all of you today,” Yochum stated in the email. “I am medically retiring, effective January 2, 2019.”

Her message included the college’s achievements throughout her time at Pierce and her hopes for future developments. One of the college’s achievements she is most proud of is Pierce placing in the top ten for the Aspen award this year.

Soileau, former Vice President for Strategic Advancement, worked with Yochum often.

“We served on the district’s executive team together for over five years, and we worked closely on a number of projects,” Soileau said. “She was a colleague first, and she has become a valued friend.”