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Congratulations to the class of 2023

Baccalaureate: Thursday, May 18th, 7pm

Zarephath Christian Church (ZCC)
2 Ministry Center Drive
Zarephath, NJ

Graduates, please arrive by 6pm for the rehearsal and to receive honor cords , if applicable. 

SPEAKER: Rev. Giselle Llerena, BA, MS, M.Div.

Giselle Llerena is Vice President of Recruitment and Retention (VPRR) at Pillar College, where she is recognized for her leadership in directing student recruitment, admissions, financial aid, student services, and retention programs. For more than 20 years, Reverend Llerena has been known as a dynamic and goal-oriented leader who uses strong interpersonal skills to build winning teams of people from a wide variety of backgrounds. Before joining our staff at Pillar, Llerena served as Director of Admissions at both Nyack College and Berkeley College.

In 2013, she and her husband became church planters as they established Journey Community Church in Bayonne to provide outreach programs throughout Hudson County. At an early age, Llerena dedicated her life to the Lord and ministry. She became the children’s leader of the Latin American Council of Churches, where she learned to preach and minister to children in New York City. Later, she served as District Youth Director for the Spanish Eastern District of the Assemblies of God. Eventually, her career in college admissions led to her nomination for two years as President of the School of Theology of the AG. In November 2013 she was appointed by the US Mission Executive Committee as a US Missionary Associate for the AG.

Giselle is passionate about teaching and preaching the gospel. Her message is one of healing and reconciliation to all who need to hear the gospel. As an ordained minister, Giselle served her local church as an Associate Pastor for four years. During this time, God called her to become a church planter. In her years of service as a pastor, teacher, coach, business strategist and administrator, she has touched hundreds of lives with her high energy, practical and joyous approach to serving in a spirit of openness and accountability.

At Pillar College, Llerena has developed a multiyear action plan to increase the enrollment of qualified students, and to ensure each Pillar student receives excellent customer service from start to finish. Reverend Llerena is motivated by graduates! Her prayer is for all Pillar graduates to become transformational leaders within their communities to the glory of God!

Llerena has received a BA in Theology and MS in Organizational Leadership from Nyack College and a M.Div. from Liberty University. She currently is a Doctoral candidate at Liberty University.

Commencement: Friday, May 19th, 2pm

Zarephath Christian Church (ZCC)
2 Ministry Center Drive
Zarephath, NJ

Graduates, please arrive by 12:30pm to prepare for the ceremony, group photos, and lining up.

SPEAKER: Craig Sider

Craig Sider enjoys helping people, leaders, and organizations pursue more intentional lives. He serves as Founder of inFOCUS Leadership, a nonprofit committed to accelerating Kingdom impact by developing higher-impact leaders, leaders who are willing to address both character formation and skill development. Born into a family immersed in both ministry and business, Craig’s desire to impact people for Christ developed early on. In 1985, he served as founding pastor of Upper Oaks Community Church in Oakville, Ontario, where he and his wife, Laura, worked to build a vibrant community committed to sharing Christ’s message. Beginning in 1996, Craig served as bishop in the Brethren in Christ Church U.S., a responsibility he held until early 2009. He also served as a Team Leader in BIC Canada, where he was responsible for new brand and new church development.

From 2013-2022, Craig served as President, and then President and CEO of Movement.org. Movement.org, a NYC-based ministry, engages leaders to positively impact cities around the world.

Following a degree in Business Administration/Economics from Brock University, Craig completed a Master of Divinity degree from Asbury Theological Seminary and a doctorate in leadership development from Denver Seminary. Craig is known as a visionary and someone capable of identifying, developing, and maximizing leadership skills in others.

Craig’s commitment to Christian Higher Education is reflected in his 15 years of service on the Board of Trustees of Messiah University in Mechanicsburg, PA. He currently serves as Chair of the Board.

Craig and his wife, Laura, have three adult children – Tori (Donovan), Nick, and Matthew – and three grandchildren, Liana, Sadie, and Brennan. Craig and Laura reside in the greater Philadelphia area.

Ticket information:

Each graduate will receive 6 tickets for Commencement. Additional tickets (up to 5 per graduate) can be picked at the Baccalaureate Service on a first come, first served basis.

Clearance is required by completing all steps before a candidate can pick up their cap, gown, and tickets, and participate in the ceremony:

Cap/Gown and Graduation Ticket Pick-ups:
Cleared graduates may pick up cap & gown packages as well as guest tickets on or after the following dates according to the student’s primary campus location:

  • Somerset / Basking Ridge campus: Tuesday, April 11 from 3pm to 6pm
  • Newark campus: Wednesday, April 12 from 12pm to 4pm and Thursday, April 13 from 3pm – 7pm

Graduate Photography available for Classes of 2023:

Jason M Martin, photographer will be on site on the days listed above and is offering professional photo packages. 

Sitting Fee:

The sitting fee from now until April 1 is $50. Registrations after that is $75. There will be no cash option this year.

You must reserve your photo shoot in advance by clicking on the link below:


Watch Commencement 2022 Ceremony

2022 Annual Baccalaureate Service


To view the 2021 Commencement Ceremony click here.

To view the 2022 Baccalaureate Service click here.