William Jessup University celebrates homecoming, dedicates Warrior Arena
On Dec. 1, William Jessup University dedicated part of its newest expansion project, a 1,018-seat gymnasium, to honor lifetime major donors Jack and Nancy Horton. The Horton Court is part of the Warrior Arena and will host men’s and women’ NAIA basketball and volleyball games for years to come.
"Jack and Nancy Horton represent a glorious part of our heritage here at William Jessup University,” said Jessup President Dr. John Jackson. “Their selfless giving and leadership made it possible for students to be educated and receive a transformational education.”
The dedication took place during the halftime ceremonies of the Warrior’s pre-season game against Master’s College. Jessup Chief Development Officer Eric Hogue introduced president emeritus, Dr. Bryce Jessup who paid tribute to the Hortons’ lasting friendship. Jessup explained that it was basketball that first brought them together in seventh grade when Jack Horton and Jessup played basketball at Roosevelt Junior High School in San Jose.
It wasn’t until 15 years ago that their friendship reunited, when Jessup was preaching at Horton’s church.
“After the service, Jack came up to me and simply said, ‘swish.’ That was what we said when we would make a basket,” Jessup recalled. “We reminisced and got to talking. Jack decided he would come visit our campus when we were located in San Jose. During his visit, Jack noticed the need to expand our well-used facilities and offered to get the ball rolling, develop plans for improvement and fund the project.”
At that time, the university was known as San Jose Christian College. Although expansion plans were not approved; administrators persevered and looked to move the campus to Morgan Hill. When those plans fell through, the university moved to its current 128-acre location and was renamed to William Jessup University, after its founder and Bryce Jessup’s father, William Jessup.
“We owe our being in Rocklin to the Horton’s for their tremendous vision and generosity,” Jessup said. “They have continued to be great partners and generous donors to the forward progress of WJU and we are exceptionally grateful.”
Jack and Nancy Horton have been married for 55 years. The couple met in high school and lived in the Silicon Valley where they built the Jack Horton Drywall Company, which went on to become the largest drywall company in the well-known high technology region.
In other Jessup news, William Jessup University held its annual alumni homecoming basketball game against Biola University Nov. 30.
More than 1,000 people braved the rain to attend the rivalry game at the Horton Court. The evening began with a tailgate and pre-game barbecue followed by tours of the growing university. Tip-off began at 7:30 p.m. and after the game, alumni were treated to dessert with the faculty.