William Jessup University
MottoTransforming Tomorrow Today
Religious affiliation
Non-denominational Christian
Endowment$1.1 million[1]
Students1700+ full time equivalent[2]
ColorsRed, white, blue
Sporting affiliations

William Jessup University is a private Christian university in Rocklin, California with an additional site in San Jose, California. The university had 1743 students during the 2019–20 academic year, over 1650 being full-time equivalents. Founded in 1939, it has a total undergraduate enrollment of 1,204 on a campus size of 126 acres.[3]


The university was founded as San Jose Bible College in 1939, in San Jose by William Lee Jessup (1905-1992), the school's first President. Eugene Claremont Sanderson had originally started a school called Evangel Bible University in San Jose in 1934 but was unable to make it viable. As a result, he recruited Jessup, one of his former students to take over. By 1951, with the school expanding and the San José State University across the street encroaching, San Jose Bible College moved to a parcel bordered by Coyote Creek, 12th Street and nearly 30 years later by I-280. Spanish-style classroom buildings and several dormitory buildings made up the small campus.

William Jessup retired in 1960 and was succeeded by Alvan L. Tiffin. Later, Woodrow Phillips, an alumnus, was president from 1968 to 1979 and Chuck Boatman was president from 1979 to 1984. Dr. Bryce Leroy Jessup (1935-2020), a Pepperdine University alumnus and a son of the original president, was president from 1984 to 2010, when he retired. Dr. John Jackson was selected to be the sixth President in March 2011.

In 1989, the school was renamed San Jose Christian College and was regionally accredited by WASC in 2002. As administration was unable to find a new location in the Santa Clara Valley, it was decided to move to the Sacramento metropolitan city of Rocklin in April 2003. The college officially moved from its San Jose campus in June 2004. At this time the college was renamed William Jessup University. A branch campus has been retained in San Jose that primarily serves non-traditional and graduate students.

The current location was formerly a Herman Miller Furniture Factory, and many of the buildings were designed by Frank Gehry.[4]



Jessup offers 25 undergraduate majors, 10 graduate programs, 5 degree completion programs and 9 fully online programs. All programs are regionally and professionally accredited and integrated with a vibrant faith based principles that provide students with a foundational understanding of themselves, the world and its Creator.


The Schools and Faculties and Divisions of William Jessup University are:

The School of Business offers undergraduate and graduate programs and courses leading to degrees and concentrations.

The School of Education places a high priority on contributing to the regional, national and international educational conversations about effective best practices in education, with a particular focus on teaching and learning, teacher and administrator training and professional development, and district and school intervention practices and programs.



William Jessup teams, nicknamed athletically as the Warriors, are part of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), primarily competing in the Golden State Athletic Conference (GSAC). Men's sports include baseball, basketball, cross country, golf, soccer, tennis, and track & field; while women's sports include basketball, cross country, soccer, softball, tennis, track & field, STUNT, and volleyball.[5]

LGBT policy

William Jessup has a partial exception to Title IX which allows it to legally discriminate against LGBT students for religious reasons.[6] The school's handbook states "Students who engage in unmarried heterosexual cohabitation or any homosexual/bisexual activity will be subject to judicial action".[7] A student and cross-country athlete claims that he was kicked out of the school in 2014 for being gay.[8]

Notable alumni

See also


  1. ^ "2008 NACUBO Endowment Study" (PDF). National Association of College and University Business Officers. Retrieved January 27, 2009.
  2. ^ "William Jessup University — Top Christian College Northern California".
  3. ^ https://www.usnews.com/best-colleges/william-jessup-university-1281[bare URL]
  4. ^ "Frank Gehry". Salon. October 5, 1999.
  5. ^ "This Page Has Moved". www.playnaia.com.
  6. ^ Redden, Elizabeth (April 13, 2021). "Colleges Seek to Intervene in Title IX Religious Exemption Suit". Inside Higher Ed. Retrieved August 25, 2021.
  7. ^ Hoang, Lien (June 19, 2014). "William Jessup University in Rocklin expels gay student". Sacramento News & Review. Retrieved August 25, 2021.
  8. ^ "Sanger man claims he was kicked out of university for being gay". ABC 30 Action News. Fresno, California. May 31, 2014. Retrieved August 25, 2021.
  9. ^ Wilson, Holly. "J.J. Heller's poetic style noted on secular folk chart". Christian Examiner. Retrieved 23 February 2012.