Bayside Church executive Pastor Jackson takes over as WJU president

By: Lauren Gibbs, The Placer Herald
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A new face will be joining the William Jessup University community starting Wednesday as Dr. John Jackson takes on the role of president. Currently the executive pastor at Bayside Church in Granite Bay, 49-year-old Jackson will become the sixth president of William Jessup. He follows in the footsteps of Bryce Jessup, who served as president for 25 years. Jessup announced his retirement May of last year, but will continue to be a familiar face on the Rocklin campus and have an active role in the school, Jackson said. “I hope he keeps us connected to the history of this university,” Jackson said. “I honor the legacy of their family.” Jessup said he would also like to create a partnership with Jackson. “With John’s vision and passion, he is an excellent choice to succeed me,” Jessup said. “I’m committed to do all that I can to assist him during this transition and look forward to our partnership together.” Jackson said he has three top priorities once he assumes the presidential duties. The first is to expand the university’s membership from affiliate to full member of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities, a nonprofit organization with a mission to advance the cause of Christ-centered higher education. Second on Jackson’s list is to expand the university physically and its curriculum. Jackson said the school is “poised for expansion.” Among the expansion ideas are creating a full-service cafeteria, building a gymnasium and new student housing. Jackson’s third top priority for William Jessup University is to connect with the larger community in areas of church, business, education, health and public policy. Jackson said he envisions that the students of William Jessup will continue their involvement within the community. “I think there is a place for partnership,” he said. “I don’t want to just educate — I want their head, their hearts and their hands to all work together. We really aspire to be a world-class university.” By forming partnerships with community members, Jackson hopes to bridge the gap between faith and life. “I think faith needs to be integrated into daily life,” he said. Jackson, in addition to executive pastor at Bayside Church, is executive director of Thriving Churches International, a network for pastoral staff members. He holds a PhD in Educational and Organizational studies from UC, Santa Barbara and is the founding pastor of LifePoint Church in northern Nevada. He currently resides in Granite Bay, but said he will be calling Rocklin home within the next couple months. Jackson has been married to his wife Pamela for 31 years. Together they have five children, one of which is a student at William Jessup University and involved in the school’s music program. Although Jackson said it will be a large transition going from pastor to president, he said he’s up for the challenge. “Every season of my life, I believe, has prepared me for this moment,” he said. William Jessup University was founded in 1939 and was then known as San Jose Bible College. The university relocated to Rocklin in 2004 and was renamed after William Jessup, who founded San Jose Bible College. Currently, the university serves more than 750 students. Jackson was selected from a pool of more than 250 candidates. He said an important role he will take on is preserving the school’s legacy. “This is an amazing legacy,” he said. “The past has given us a legacy, but the future burns brightly because of that past. I think the best days of William Jessup University are just ahead.”