A nationally prominent figure in Christian community development will speak to more than 400 graduates at the Fresno Pacific University Fall Commencement ceremony at 10:00 a.m. Saturday, December 15, 2018, in Selland Arena, 700 M St., Fresno.

Noel Castellanos, founder of Camino Alliance, will speak to an estimated 439 graduates—327 from bachelor’s degree completion programs, 58 traditional undergraduates and 54 graduate students, including three from Fresno Pacific Biblical Seminary. Graduates come from the main Fresno campus, as well as regional campuses in Merced, North Fresno, Visalia and Bakersfield.

Castellanos began his fulltime ministry in Latino, urban communities in 1982 and has worked in youth ministry, church planting, advocacy and community development in San Francisco, San Jose and Chicago. He was the founding pastor of La Villita Community Church in Chicago, and in 2004 established the Christian Community Development Association (CCDA) Institute to equip leaders in the philosophy of Christian community development, serving CEO and president for 12 years. President Barak Obama appointed Castellanos to the Council for Faith and Neighborhood Partnerships.

A speaker, motivator and mentor, Castellanos’ books include Where the Cross Meets the Street: What Happens to the Neighborhood When God is at the Center and A Heart for the Community, New Models for Urban and Suburban Ministry (co-author). His newest venture is founding Camino Alliance en las Americas, a group committed to inviting men and women of faith and good will to walk alongside Latino immigrant neighbors by affirming their God-given dignity and celebrating their contributions in the U.S. and across the Americas. Castellanos has a bachelor’s degree from Whitworth University, which also conferred an honorary doctorate on him. He and wife Marianne have four children and have lived in the barrio of La Villita on Chicago’s Southwest side for the last 28 years.

Also on the platform will be President Joseph Jones, Ph.D.; Joshua Wilson, chair of the FPU Board of Trustees; D. Gayle Copeland, Ph.D., senior vice president/provost; and others. Music will be provided by the university Pacific Brass ensemble, Chamber Choir and music professor Walter Saul, D.M.A., organ.

The ceremony will be streamed live and available for later viewing at fresno.edu/live