Township partners with Pillar College to offer higher education

IRVINGTON, NJ — On Monday, Aug. 8, Mayor Tony Vauss announced Irvington’s new partnership with Pillar College and its Life Enhancement Accelerated Degree Program, to offer adult accelerated degree programs to residents and township employees.

Board of Education President Romaine Greer said she plans to take advantage of the program; otherwise, she said, she would make alternate plans to pursue a higher education at another institution.

“I’m aboard with Pillar and the L.E.A.D. program, because I’m going back myself,” said Greer on Tuesday, Aug. 2, during the township’s annual National Night Out celebration in Civic Square. “I’m going to get my master’s degree in leadership and education. I didn’t say I want to be a doctor, but I would like to complete my master’s. I don’t have to do it, but why not? They’re coming to us; it’s a fantastic opportunity, so when opportunity knocks, I’m grabbing it.”

It’s also a convenience that can’t be overlooked, Vauss said. At large Councilwoman Charnette Frederic, a scientist, said there’s really no dollar value that can be put on a higher education and advanced degrees, although many people in education and the working world often do link dollars and earning power to them.

Frederic said Pillar College’s partnership with Irvington to offer affordable and accessible higher education opportunities in town is a very good thing for everyone.

“It’s going to be very special to the township … we encourage education as education is key for our children or our adults to go further … and be a very great success to society,” said Frederic on Tuesday, Aug. 2. “One of the reasons why I got involved in politics is because I understand that education has to be a priority in an urban area like Irvington. Being a serious scientist, as I was talking to the representative from Pillar College, the first thing I asked was: What is your curriculum? Because I really want to know that, if it helps with my master’s degree in health administration, I want to take other courses. Because I might want to have a health officer license.”

Frederic said educational partnership is also proof that “it’s never too late” to go back to school and get a higher education, adding, “continuing your education is key.”

Vauss agreed, but said he’s not about to knock the convenience and ease of aspects of the new partnership with Pillar College and the L.E.A.D. program.

“Education is the key to success for most people,” said Vauss on Monday, Aug. 8. “In today’s times, it is important to earn a college degree, in order to be considered for most jobs. Just as important, the college experience helps the student to become a critical thinker.”

According to Vauss, critical thinking is likely to continue being a very important skill for anyone looking to compete in the current global economy for the foreseeable future. And now, thanks to Pillar College, Irvington is once again taking a leading role in an activity sure to benefit its citizens.

“To be able to think outside of the box and to better understand the complexities of our times,” said Vauss. “Through their L.E.A.D. Program, Pillar College grants students such as myself credit for some of the professional experiences that have already provided us with a practical classroom.”

Elaine Sanders, dean of the L.E.A.D. Program, said the partnership with Irvington is “like a satellite program” for the Newark-based program, “but we are here to service Irvington in any way possible.”

“We’re a unique school, being the only accredited Christian college in the state of New Jersey, and we’re partnering with Irvington because Pillar is coming to Irvington, instead of Irvington going out to the different colleges. We’re located in Newark, but we’re going to have our professors come out to Irvington; the locations are going to be the Senior Citizens Center on Springfield Avenue, as well as the public library,” said Sanders on Tuesday, Aug. 2.

“I would say we marry the sacred and the secular, which makes us unique, in and of itself. With the L.E.A.D. Program, our average student age is 25 years old and older. Because people already have life experience, we take your life experience and turn it into credits. In the L.E.A.D. Program, our students either have dropped out at some point or now feel that they’re ready, so they’re more focused than the younger college student. We’re learning every day and that’s why we have the opportunity to take your life experience credits and turn them into college credits, to help you accelerate going through the four-year program.”

For additional information about the programs offered by Pillar College and the partnership with the township of Irvington, call 973-803-5000, ext. 1032, or email Additional information can also be found at