Meet Upper House Team Member John Terrill

March 19, 2022

We are delighted to introduce you to our Upper House team, and this week we invite you to meet John Terrill, our Executive Director. John was hired by the Stephen & Laurel Brown Foundation to oversee the launch of Upper House 7.5 years ago, and he has built the team to its current size of 17 staff, including interns, infusing it with his enthusiasm and vision.

John, how has your role at Upper House furthered your faith journey?

When Upper House launched, I was the only team member. I was lonely, so I started hiring colleagues. One of my greatest joys in this role has been to see God bring to us the right people at the right time. The opportunity to have “a front-row seat” on our expanding team has been a catalyst for my own spiritual journey. At each juncture of need and opportunity, God has been faithful to provide exactly what we have needed. 

What part of the Upper House project has intrigued/inspired you the most? 

I love finding creative ways to come alongside the good work of a world-class university with the grace, truth, wisdom, and power of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  

What is one of the best pieces of advice you have been given?  

As I get older, my body increasingly appreciates the advice of my dad, who has reminded me to always invest in good shoes, good tires, a good office chair, and a good mattress. 

Henry Nouwen, the author, was also an important, early mentoring voice in my life. He has helped teach me that “to give someone a blessing is the most significant affirmation we can offer.” 

If you got your 15 minutes of fame, what would you choose to be famous for? 

In our fractured world, I would love to be remembered as a peacemaker. Earlier this week, I asked my almost five-year-old daughter this question. She responded “I want to be famous for making great candy.” 

John’s desire to be a peacemaker reflects the priority he places on relationships. His vision for integrating heart, mind, studies, and vocation infuses Upper House’s culture. Whenever you see him, ask him what new things are happening. Next week, we will feature Eric Carlsson, director of the Upper House Fellows Program.