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Rocklin, Calif. – To arrive at one’s starting point is to come full circle, a phrase that might come to mind when referring to Dennis Nichols’ career at William Jessup University.  Nichols is the newest faculty member on the Rocklin campus, heading the department of Pastoral Ministry.

 After an eleven year hiatus, Nichols returns to the 71 year old institution where he once served as Campus Pastor and Dean of Students.  “William Jessup University is nothing like the school I left, formerly known as San Jose Bible College, and I’m not like the person that left.  It was a perfect fit for coming back,” admits Nichols.

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Behind the Cellar Door

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Behind the Cellar Door

Behind the Cellar Door

Behind the Cellar Door


Nichols brings a wealth of experience from a variety of positions outside of academia.

He planted and served as a pastor for numerous churches in northern California and is an active member of the National Guard chaplaincy with 25 years of military service.

 In addition to his military experience, Nichols worked as a chaplain for Placer County Sheriff’s Department.  Most recently, Nichols completed 1600 hours in Clinical Pastoral Education, geared toward hospital chaplaincy.   He currently works as a per diem chaplain for Sutter Roseville Hospital.  With years of expertise, Nichols hopes to share his knowledge and help students learn about the chaplaincy profession.

 Nichols speaks passionately about his plans for teaching at William Jessup University.  “Ministry is done holistically, emotionally, physically and spiritually…the inside life congruent with the outside life, and that’s one of my goals, to train ministers from the inside out.”  His approach is largely based on Scripture, referring to Luke 4:18-19, his voice ignites, “it’s about broken things made whole.”

 One of Nichol’s dreams is to expand the Pastoral Ministry Department by serving the local church and its pastors.  His goal is to provide resources for “retooling” their leaders and offering continuing education for local ministries.

“I want to make WJU a place to come after you’ve graduated from seminary.”

 Dennis Nichols graduated from Gulf Coast Bible College in Texas.  He earned his Divinity degree from Fuller Theological Seminary.   He resides in Rocklin, with his wife, Sue (married 32 years).  The Nichols have two grown daughters, Courtney and Kristen. His oldest daughter, Courtney graduated from William Jessup University.

An excitement and sense of profound optimism exudes from Nichols when he speaks about hope.  “It’s all based on the completed work of Jesus Christ and what he continues to do with us. I came back to WJU because I love to teach. I love to model and I came back a richer person to my original calling.” 

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