SPECIAL PROMOTIONAL SECTION
Growing programs that help students change the world
by Ken Smith
When John Jackson , Ph . D ., was interviewing with the selection committee to become president of what had once been known as San Jose Bible College , he discovered the school didn ’ t offer any math degrees , nor any for science or the arts . No graduate or online degrees , either .
Perplexed , he asked , “ In what way is our name William
Jessup University ? How are we a university ?” “ Well , our name is aspirational ,” he was told . The school was founded in 1939 as San Jose Bible College and for its first 50 years , it trained pastors and missionaries . It was renamed San Jose Christian College in 1989 but had to move when San Jose State University , which was located across the street , needed the site for housing . When the campus moved to Rocklin in 2004 , it needed a new name and was rechristened William Jessup University in honor of its first leader , William L . Jessup .
Since 2011 , when Jackson became the sixth president in the school ’ s history , William Jessup University has become more of the well-rounded and respected university it once aspired to be . It now offers a growing number of platforms and programs , serves nearly 2,000 students and has a graduation rate of about 80 %. Attendance at Jessup has more than tripled in the last decade and the school has awarded more degrees during that time than it did in its first 70 years . Enrollment grew by 6 % in 2020 and another increase is expected this fall .
“ We do everything in our power to help people graduate in four years so it ’ s quicker to a degree and quicker to a vocation ,” Jackson says . He adds that about 95 % of the programs at Jessup require internships prior to graduation , which helps students get real-world experience and make connections with potential employers .
Jessup has aggressively added new programs and platforms during Jackson ’ s tenure . Over the past decade , the school has added degrees in subjects such as computer science , digital communication and design , kinesiology , criminal justice and more . “ We have daytime programs , nighttime programs , on-ground and online , undergraduate and graduate ,” Jackson says . “ You can pretty much now pick from a full menu of Jessup programs .”
Jackson is clear that while Jessup remains a religious institution and that most of Jessup ’ s students come to the school because it ’ s a Christ-centered university , Jessup is deeply committed to what it calls “ faith integration .” “ We try to integrate faith into every subject ,” Jackson says . “ We think if you ’ re a Christian , you should be an amazing biologist . Because you ’ re a Christian , you should be exemplary in how you do sciences and how you do the arts .”
Jessup also attracts students because of the community it offers . Class and lab sizes are smaller , leading to more personalized instruction . “ In the first week , somebody with a doctorate will know you by name if you ’ re a student ,” Jackson says . “ You will not be a number , you will not be taught by a teacher ’ s assistant . You will be taught by a full professor with a doctorate who will know you by name .”
“ Jessup is a small school — it ’ s small enough that you know people and you know professors very well to the point of oneon-one mentorship ,” says Daniel Mota , a business major from Brazil who will be a senior in the fall . “ It ’ s a great place to make lots of friends and also have friends that are super close , people that will invest in you and each other .”
Mota is currently interning at an international business management consultancy that helps grow venture-capital-
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