John Householder’s father told him to live his life with three priorities— God, family, and country. Householder, an admissions counselor, upholds these values, but he doesn’t follow them in any particular order.
Householder, 63, plans to retire this year after working as an admissions counselor for 20 years.
The admissions office threw a party to celebrate Householder’s tenure last Friday. The Mary Wright Admission Center was filled with faculty and staff eating churros, pizza and hot dogs. Soft cello and piano music played while images of Householder’s career and life projected on a presentation screen.
Memories and stories were exchanged about Householder’s time at the university. They also honored Householder’s priorities.
Joining the Air Force Academy was a childhood dream for Householder.
The dream was achieved when Householder spent his college career at the Air Force Academy. He began his first-year at the academy in 1970, during the Vietnam War.
“I was a really good student in high school, but the culture was very different at that time,” Householder said. “Teachers would ask me why I was throwing my life away. They didn’t understand why I was joining the Air Force.”
After graduation, Householder worked for 23 years with the Air Force. He began as a pilot and then became one of the youngest aircraft commanders of the B-52. He also worked as an instructor and managed different programs.
“When you’re in the Air Force, you change roles every few years,” Householder said. “I traveled oversees, and I even had a black passport.”
As Householder ended his career with the Air Force, he considered working with an ROTC program. He heard about TCU through previous work with Lockheed Martin.
“Following my work at the Air Force, I thought it would be fun to help young people understand what the Air Force is all about,” Householder said. “They said I could choose any location and I chose TCU.”
He joined the TCU family and worked as the Air Force ROTC commander. When Householder first began, the chancellor and the provost both received a letter from the Air Force stating that if numbers did not improve, the Air Force would pull out.
Householder was sound in bringing scholarship opportunities and coordinating funds for social events to help improve numbers.
“I said, ‘If I bring in kids that are scholarship worthy, I will get their tuition and books covered,’” Householder said. “I asked TCU to cover [ROTC student’s] room and board. Pretty soon, we were able to provide more funds than places like UT.”
After three years of working with the ROTC program, Householder became an admission counselor.
“When I stepped into John’s position, he instantly became my point person,” Air Force ROTC Commander Gene Capone said. “He was there when I needed him and he was always prompt.”
During Householder’s retirement reception, Ray Brown, dean of admissions, said, “it is safe to say that Colonel Householder is a frugal man.”
“I think this holds the record for the cheapest reception,” Brown said.
Director of Freshman Admission Heath Einstein recalled the first time he met Householder.
“It was when I was interviewing for my job at TCU,” Einstein said. “In most interviews, each person asks one question at a time. John followed up my response with another question and that’s because John is a challenger. He never accepts things at face value.”
After his retirement, Householder intends to focus on his relationship with God.
Householder is talking with mission side coordinators and said he hopes to work in Peru.
“Now I’m getting around to what I finally want to do with God because I feel like there are some important missions that I should have taken on in my life,” Householder said. “It’s not that I am trying to make up for it now, I just really want to focus on serving him first.”