William Jessup University marks 10 years in Placer County

William Jessup University this week is celebrating 10 years at its Rocklin campus, once the site of an old Herman Miller furniture factory.

The 75-year-old, private Christian institution moved to Placer County in 2004 from San Jose in hopes of dramatically expanding its student body and course offerings. During the last decade, enrollment has jumped three-fold from 400 students to a record 1,207 students this year.

“Placer County is one of the most conservative places in the state of California,” said Bryce Jessup, who served as president for 26 years until 2010. “We knew it would be a good fit because our values are the same.”

On Wednesday, students and faculty gathered for chapel before posing for a group photo at the university’s iconic ramp that serves as the entrance to the campus.

Bryce Jessup, 79, son of founder William Jessup, said school officials initially struggled to find a new location after outgrowing a small campus in downtown San Jose. The university ended up buying the former furniture factory, set on 125 acres, for $18 million.

After making several additions over the years, the university is once again on a building spree. It hopes to raise $15 million for a new 400-bed dorm. A plan to start a business school is also in the works, according to university president John Jackson.