Richard Crowder’s mind is filled with many memories of Findlay College; memories like the time Coach Jim Houdeshell packed five or six of his Findlay track athletes in his old station wagon and drove them all to Big Rapids, Michigan to compete in the Ferris Invitational. “We won trophy after trophy,” Crowder said, “and driving back home in that car, with those wins, those teammates and that bond is a feeling I’ll never forget.”
Crowder, ’69, attended Alliance High School in Alliance, Ohio, playing football, running track, and playing the trumpet in the school orchestra. During that time, college was tentatively in the plans, as the road toward higher education was anything but certain. “I had only three scholarship/grant and aid offers,” Crowder said. “Westminster College, for track and field, and University of New Mexico and Findlay College for football.” His mother persuaded him to go to Findlay College, and, he said, it turned out to be “the very best choice [he] could have made.”
Arriving on then-Findlay College’s campus came, for Crowder, on the heels of a football scholarship. The head football coach/athletic director at that time, Louis Juillerat, Crowder said, was “a very inspiring, uplifting and motivational person that [he] had very high regards for,” so it helped to have another competent guide to help lead the way for him. It seemed to be one of those times in life where everything would line up accordingly to Crowder’s plans, but he soon became aware that life’s ups and downs continue unfettered even when the freedom and honor of being a student-athlete is realized. “During my freshman year I was injured with a bad ankle sprain,” he remembered. “And entering my sophomore year, because of personal reasons, I quit playing football.” As a result, Crowder wasn’t even sure that he could stay in school. But the aforementioned Coach Houdeshell approached him and asked him to stay at Findlay to run track. “Coach Houdeshell instilled in me the confidence and determination to eventually finish my education,” Crowder added.
So he stayed and participated in track until, after his junior year, Crowder left school with the intent to work at a steel mill in Alliance, planning to make enough money for he and his family to feel comfortable enough for his return to school. Yet, in another example of life’s unpredictability, it was during this time – October 1965 – that Crowder was drafted into the U.S. Army to serve one year in Vietnam assigned to the 1st Infantry Division as a squad leader in Reconnaissance and Long-Range Patrol Units. Crowder received a Bronze Star for his service, and, after two years in the Army, did, in fact, return to Findlay to complete his business degree with a major in accounting.
After a five-year stint out of college as an accountant with Ford Motor Company, Crowder spent twenty-nine years working for Johns Manville Corporation until retiring as a plant controller in 2003. Shortly after, he started his own software consulting business with his wife Linda, Partners Business Consulting Group, Inc. What started out as just the two of them, Crowder said, quickly began to grow and expand in over six different states and with several added employees. Among their largest customers is the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, for whom the business performs project management support for many of their projects and software training.
Although the path wasn’t stick-straight, Crowder said, his guidance from Findlay College/University of Findlay provided an important compass pointing him toward the life he has now. “I believe attending Findlay College\UF helped prepare me for many of the challenges that I have experienced in my personal and professional life,” he said. “The interaction with fellow students, the guidance and leadership from many coaches, professors and staff members, all provided me with a very well diversified and solid foundation to succeed in life, whether it was my tour of duty in Vietnam, or my thirty-four years working for large corporations or starting and running a successful business for over seventeen years.”
Like Findlay College of yesteryear, The University of Findlay continues to provide the best of both memories and education to students who, like Crowder, seek a meaningful life and productive career. While the road of life may be winding, with UF alongside to lead the way, the destinations alumni can reach are well worth the ride.