WJU president announces retirement

By: Lauren Weber, The Placer Herald
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Bryce Jessup, president of William Jessup University in Rocklin, announced his retirement Thursday morning. Jessup, the son of William Jessup, founder of WJU, will be stepping down from his role as president in May 2010, but won’t be completely out of the picture. Bryce Jessup said he will take an eight-month hiatus to allow time for the new president to assume his position, and then return in a part-time role to maintain the university’s strong partnerships. For the next year, Bryce Jessup said his focus will be on reaching a campus-expansion goal. The university announced Thursday that it has raised $15.6 million of their $25 million goal going toward expanding the Rocklin campus, through the capital campaign. The project’s first phase is constructing additional student apartments. The second phase will include enlarging the dining facility to seat approximately 250 people, build an enlarged athletic facility with a gymnasium and courts and also to increase the music facility. “For me, that will be success, to finish this race with energy and strength,” Bryce Jessup said. The school also plans to launch a woman’s softball team during the upcoming school year. Bryce Jessup said one of his “most powerful” memories of his 25 years with WJU is the path it took to find the Rocklin campus. Originally, the university had sights on converting a hospital in Morgan Hill into their college campus. After being denied zoning and taking it to the Federal and Supreme Courts, Bryce Jessup said it was not passed. The next week, they spotted a “for sale” sign on the Rocklin lot that the current campus sits on. “From there it’s all history,” Bryce Jessup said. He said he expected a fight with Rocklin City Council, but was pleasantly surprised with approval within 14 minutes. “We felt like someone was in charge higher up,” Bryce Jessup said. When asked what his father would say if he were still alive, Bryce Jessup said he’d encourage the university’s progress. “I think he would be 130 percent in our corner, very excited,” he said. Don Hinkle, current chair of WJU’s board of trustees, said Bryce Jessup has made a “tremendous difference.” “The leadership of Bryce Jessup has transformed this university and impacted the lives of all of those who have been educated here,” Hinkle said in a news release.