Photo left to right: Alexandra Restro, Admissions, Pillar College; Rupert A. Hayles, Jr., Chief Operating Officer, Pillar College, Paterson Mayor Andre Sayegh, and Erica M. Oliver, VP of Institutional Outreach and Marketing, Pillar College. Photo credit: Jason Martin Productions.
Pillar College recently hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony at its new location, 111 Washington Street in Paterson, New Jersey. Following state guidelines regarding social gatherings, the event was only attended by a few invited guests representing Pillar College, local government, and local clergy.
“Pillar College is a door of hope for the city of Paterson,” said Paterson Councilman Alex Mendez.
“The ribbon cutting ceremony for Pillar College’s new Paterson campus was symbolic of the collective efforts by the entire Paterson community in bringing a four-year accredited college to the city of Paterson” said Dominic DiGioacchino, M.Ed., Associate Vice President – Interim Director of Admissions at Pillar College. “I would like to sincerely thank our Paterson Partners for making this new campus possible; including Superintendent Eileen Shafer, Mayor Andre Sayegh, Dr. Randall Lassiter, and, of course, the great Reverend Michael McDuffie. Without the help and support of these individuals and so many others, Pillar in Paterson would not have been possible.”
Pillar College, founded in 1908, also has locations in Newark, Somerset, and Plainfield, New Jersey. On January 13 in Paterson, attendees were given tours of the recently renovated space, which features marble floors, sleek white and black interior, and exposed brick walls. There are several classrooms, a state-of-the-art computer lab, conference rooms, private study areas, and a student lounge with views of the city. Future open house events will be open to the public once restrictions are released.
“We are marking another historic milestone for Pillar College and commemorate the opening of our new Paterson site. We would not be here if it weren’t for the support of the community,” expressed Dr. David E. Schroeder, President of Pillar College. “Pillar College sees itself as a practical Christian college. We are designing new career-friendly majors so that graduates will be able to get jobs right out of college.”
Students can enroll for the spring semester for several of Pillar College’s most popular programs to help them obtain college degrees and to help entrepreneurs open businesses. BLEND and LEAD are the programs offered at this location. BLEND (Bi-Lingual ENtry Degree) is the pioneer program that allows Hispanic students to take accredited college classes in Spanish, while LEAD (Life-Enhancing Accelerated Degree) is a cohort, or collaborative small group format, program that helps students with some college credits to complete their degrees.
“I am delighted to hear of Pillar College’s new campus here in our city, Paterson,” said Councilman Mendez. “Having been part of the team with the Board of Education that unanimously gave approval for the college to be welcomed here in Paterson, it is great to see its continued growth. I have seen how Pillar College supports the Hispanic community to receive the education and training needed to reach their goals. Congratulations Pillar College on your continued growth.”
The Paterson location also holds the Pillar Center for Transformative Work (PCTW), the college’s newly acquired incubator program. PCTW trains urban entrepreneurs and businesses to launch and grow thriving businesses which employ local residents in their enterprises.
Eileen Shafer, Superintendent of Paterson Public Schools, welcomed Pillar to Paterson.
“Our school district has worked with Pillar College in the professional development of our educators, leading them to more fulfilling careers and developing their abilities to help provide better education for our students,” she said. “Pillar College is a great neighbor to have in the great City of Paterson.”
The LEAD program offers students the opportunity to complete a bachelor’s degree part-time in as little as 18-20 months. It is tailored to adult learners and provides the flexibility needed to juggle full-time work and family responsibilities while simultaneously pursuing an accredited degree program.
“There are many New Jersey residents who have earned some college credits, however, have not had the opportunity to complete their degree. The LEAD program offers these students the ability to fulfill their dreams,” states Dr. Schroeder. “We’re hopeful that by bringing Pillar College’s LEAD program to Paterson, we can increase the number of college graduates living here, potentially contributing to increased employment opportunities, benefitting the students, as well as potential employers in the area.”
Students accepted into the LEAD program can convert their life experiences and prior learning into credits through portfolio assessments. This has the potential to translate into a maximum of 30 credits for “life learning,” plus a savings of one year in tuition and reduced classroom time.
Marisol Rodriguez, Executive Director of RENEW Life Center in Paterson, said, “Congratulations to Pillar College on their new campus location in Paterson. RENEW Life Center is excited to use Pillar College’s specialized programs as a resource to help the families we serve move from just surviving to thriving.”
Pillar’s BLEND program allows students to take general education classes, such as math, psychology, biology, and history in their native language (ex. Spanish), while concurrently enrolled in English as a Second Language (ESL) classes to achieve English competency. After taking these core classes, students will then transition to taking all remaining academic requirements in English.
“A key distinction of Pillar’s BLEND program is that unlike other college programs that require ESL competency at level 4 or 5 before any academic classes can be taken, our BLEND program allows students to take core academic instruction immediately,” noted Dr. Joseph Andino, BLEND Program Chair.
For a tour and/or additional information, please call (973) 803-5000, ext. 1000, or visit www.pillar.edu.