By Candace Waller
The Board of Trustees of Pillar College recently announced the appointment of Rupert A. Hayles Jr., Ph.D. as President. Dr. Hayles succeeds Dr. David E. Schroeder, who recently was named Chancellor of the college.
Prior to his appointment, Dr. Hayles had been Chief Operating Officer and Executive Vice President of Pillar College since 2019. Dr. Hayles’ career also includes more than 25 years in strategic management for organizations including Cytec Industries, Prudential Financial, Christ Church, and Merck & Company.
“The Board of Trustees was unanimous in choosing Dr. Rupert Hayles to succeed Dr. David Schroeder as President of Pillar College,” said Board Chairman Tim Schmidt, who is also the Senior Vice President, Chief Investment Officer of Prudential Financial Incorporated. “We are confident in his ability to lead Pillar forward as we grow in our mission as the only Christ-centered evangelical college in New Jersey. The Board also wishes to publicly recognize Dr. Schroeder for his leadership over the last 14 years, and is thrilled that he will continue to be involved with Pillar by accepting the role of Chancellor.”
In his previous role at Pillar, Hayles was responsible for organizational, operational, strategic and financial planning to achieve and maintain budget compliance and financial stability at the college. In that capacity, Hayles helped Pillar successfully navigate fallout and financial uncertainty brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic. As a result, Pillar College now offers hybrid learning, both in-person and online.
“I really believe that, with an education, one can impact the world in significant ways,” Hayles said. “As a young man, my dad worked in the maintenance department of Sears, Roebuck and Company. In 1989, his take-home pay for the family was $22,000. He told me, ‘Rupert, whenever you can get an education, get it.’ I have never forgotten those words, and it is with them that I have been on a journey to better myself through education,” Dr. Hayles said.
Pillar College, the only evangelical Christian college in New Jersey, was ranked in the top 50 for Best Colleges in the state when compared to 150 institutions of higher learning by Intelligent.com. Also, Pillar’s LEAD (Life Enhancing Accelerated Degree) program has been recognized as one of the best in New Jersey, while its pioneering BLEND (Bilingual Entry Degree) program is among the few of its kind available to help Spanish-speaking students earn a degree in their native language.
“I am very pleased that Dr. Hayles has been chosen to be my successor as president of Pillar College,” said Dr. Schroeder. “He brings an amazing array of gifts and boundless energy. His specialization is in the area of emotional intelligence and his financial acumen have blessed the college greatly, and I believe the best days of Pillar College are ahead.”
Dr. Hayles received his doctorate from Regent University. The subject of his Ph.D. dissertation was organizational leadership and organization behavior, with an emphasis on the linkage between Emotional Intelligence (EI) and Christian virtues (Fruit of the Spirit) as it relates to leaders in organizations. Hayles also has received an MBA from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania in the field of Finance and Decision Sciences, and a B.S. in Accounting and Information Technology from Seton Hall University.
His professional experience includes more than 25 years in strategic management. In addition, Dr. Hayles served as an officer in the United States Air Force, and is the author of several books, including: Practical Strategy: Aligning Business with Information Technology and Emotional Intelligence and the Church.
“I pray that I can use my gifts to assist faculty, staff, and most importantly the many students that will pass through this wonderful institution,” said Dr. Hayles. “The experience at Pillar College of utilizing my skills to further God’s work is no less than breathtaking, and I embrace this call on my life.”
Dr. Hayles describes his new and expanded mission at Pillar as an important part of the Windmills of Change vision, with its goal of extending the institution’s reach by strengthening product offerings and enhancing distribution channels. Hayles foresees Windmills of Change taking shape over the next five years. “This will be accomplished by providing new degrees, new majors, new delivery methods, new relational networks, and new funding possibilities,” he said. “The manifestation of this vision is through precise and significant enhancements of our delivery structure.”
Pillar has seven undergraduate degree majors and three graduate degree majors. The school recently was approved to offer the MBA degree in Social Sector Management, which will be available to students in Spring 2022. Pillar College currently is featured in a Viewpoint mini-documentary shown nationally on PBS stations, hosted by actor Dennis Quaid. A commercial related to this project also may be seen on several networks, including CNN, CNBC, and Fox News. Dr. Hayles and Pillar’s newly-appointed Chancellor, Dr. David Schroeder, are both interviewed and featured in this project.
“I feel simply honored to be in this position, and to able to use education and an experiential gift-mix to further God’s kingdom,” said Dr. Hayles. “All my life I believe the Lord has been with me and has helped me every step of the way,” he said.
Dr. Hayles, and his wife, Maryann, a co-founder of the Center for Emotional and Spiritual Development, live with their children Stephen and Savannah in North Western New Jersey.
About Pillar College
Pillar College, founded in 1908, is an institution of higher learning that provides a comprehensive education from a Christ-centered worldview. Pillar is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE), licensed by the New Jersey Commission on Higher Education, and is a member of the Association for Biblical Higher Education (ABHE). Pillar offers Associate, Bachelor, and Master degree programs. Pillar College educates, inspires and equips students for excellent scholarship, service and leadership. Rooted in and committed to Christian faith and love, Pillar fosters intellectual, spiritual and social development among its diverse student population. Pillar College has locations in Newark, Somerset, Paterson, Plainfield and Jersey City, New Jersey. For more information about Pillar College, visit https://pillar.edu.