Women’s Heritage Month: Denise O’Donoghue

Name: Denise O’Donoghue

What would you say that you do here at SEBTS?

Well, I am the Director of Women’s Life and I am assistant professor of ministry to women.

Tell us a little about yourself:

I have been married to my husband, Rod, for 41 years. We have two married adult children, Courtney (husband Jerry) and Erin (husband Jerry Lee). We have 5 grandsons. Prior to coming to SEBTS, I had a career in telecommunications. One of my hobbies is quilting which developed because both of my grandmothers were quilters. I love the beach and the mountains and if I had to choose one or the other as a place to live, it would be really hard. Ministry-wise, I totally enjoy discipling younger women.

What is a book that you have read that has left the most impact on you (besides the Bible)?

I am in the process of reading a second time New Morning Mercies by Tripp. It is a devotional book that I would say is like My Upmost for His Highest of this generation. Tripp goes straight for the heart as he masterfully applies the scriptures.

Who’s your favorite historical figure (that’s a woman)?

I have no idea. I’ve never been a big fan of history most of my life. I will say that in recent years, the Lord has stirred up an interest in studying history to understand the current times.

When you were younger, what did you want to be when you grew up? Did that happen or did God take you in another direction?

I wanted to be a teacher. It sounds strange to say that now because I didn’t start teaching until much later in life and I found I love it! It is an interesting thought to think about God taking me in another direction. I did go another direction, but looking back I wonder how much was God and how much was me making my own choices.

When I went to college, I started out as an elementary education student. I quickly learned that most of my peers were too. It didn’t bode well for a job after graduation. I’d always liked math, so I switched to be an accounting major, but eventually graduated with a degree in computer information systems (it was a new thing!!) All of this took place over a period of ten years while I worked to support my husband through law school and had our first baby.

Who is the woman that has had the most impact on your life that you know personally and why?

It would be difficult not to mention my mom as the answer to this question. Of course, she raised me (along with my dad) but now she is one of my best friends. She is strong in her faith, humble, a great listener, and always an encouragement to me. Professionally, I would say my former Bible Study Fellowship leader made a big mark on my life as far as ministry leadership skills. Those who’ve taken my class, Women and Communication, will recognize just one of the many things I learned from her by the phrases, “What did the speaker do well?” and “What can we say that will help her become an even better speaker?” Everything that she did was intentionally encouraging as evidenced even by the careful wording of her questions. I want to be like these women when I grow up!

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