Reverend John Butler 1941-2015

From 1977 to 2004, Butler served as the campus’ spiritual head.

Spiritual life, John Butler, Campus Ministries

Reverend John Butler, 1941-2015.

Reverend John Butler 1941-2015

From 1977 to 2004, Butler served as the campus’ spiritual head.

From religious beliefs to world events to everyday struggles, no topic was off-limits for students who sought counsel from the Rev. John Butler ’67 MDiv.

For four decades, Butler served as listening ear and University Minister, welcoming all faiths to campus and championing social justice causes. He died in September at age 74.

From 1977 to 2004, Butler served as the campus’ spiritual head, offering pregame prayers, officiating worship services and encouraging young adults to engage with the world around them, especially with those less fortunate than themselves.

He was an advocate for racial equality and caring for homeless people and patients with HIV. He worked with student organizations and university programs, such as Habitat for Humanity, HIV Planning Council, TCU Recycling and Hunger Week.

“The entire TCU community was touched by Rev. Butler’s love and sense of compassion,” said the Rev. Angela Kaufman ’95, minister to the university. “People on campus and off knew well his passion for social justice. He lived his life not based on what was popular, but rather what was right and just for others.”

Butler arrived at TCU in 1975 as a psychologist in the counseling center and later moved to University Ministries. He devoted much of his time to helping students learn about national and global societal problems.

“It’s important for students to get involved with community service programs to discover their place and a difference in a part of the world,” Butler told the TCU Daily Skiff in 2004 upon his retirement. “Students learn transferable skills and experiences that define who they are.”

In 2001, Butler received the Alexander Campbell Award, the highest honor in the Division of Higher Education of the Disciples of Christ denomination.

Butler sought to include multiple faith traditions in University Ministries, said Kay Higgins, director of special programs for Student Development Services. “John brought people together to learn about what faith and hope mean to the TCU community,” she said. “No matter what faith, he wanted all students to feel accepted and included. He wanted to make the campus a home away from home for them.”

In 2004, Butler told the Skiff he enjoyed the university’s personal approach to educating students. “The kind of commitment the TCU mission statement makes to individuals is inspiring and gave me energy.”

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