Monthly News Archives: May 2013

HPU announces dates for Summer Scholars and Young Scholars programs

summer_scholars_2012_robotics_for_webBROWNWOOD – May 30, 2013 – Howard Payne University will host its annual Summer Scholars and Young Scholars programs July 15-19 from 9 a.m. to noon on HPU’s Academy of Freedom campus. The programs, for students in first through sixth grades, will feature innovative instruction in a variety of subjects. The theme for this year is “Brainpower and the Body.”

“We have an outstanding lineup of HPU professors and area public-school teachers who are experts in the fields of study they will be teaching our students,” said Dr. Julie Welker, director of the programs. Dr. Welker is the chair of the Department of Communication and professor of communication at HPU. “The curriculum this year includes biology, robotics and its application in the medical field, reading and, of course, our popular physical activities.”

This year’s Summer Scholars teachers include Melinda Elkins, seventh-grade language arts teacher and head cross-country coach at Early Middle School and assistant basketball and track coach at Early High School; Tami Hull, sixth-grade science teacher at Early Middle School and coach of the robotics and University Interscholastic League science and mathematics teams; Dr. Kristen Hutchins, assistant professor of biology at HPU, who holds a doctoral degree in curriculum and instruction in the area of science education; and Dr. Evelyn Romig, professor of English at HPU, who holds a doctoral degree in English.

Young Scholars teachers include Melinda Elkins; Deanna Erxleben, adjunct instructor of music at HPU, who holds a master’s degree in vocal performance with a concentration in voice science and pedagogy reading; Jennifer McKibben, eighth-grade science teacher at Early Middle School; and Clairissa Tucker, second-grade biology teacher at Bangs ISD who holds a master’s degree in education.

In the Summer Scholars program, students entering fourth through sixth grades will study biology, physical education, robotics, computer graphics and reading. The Young Scholars program is designed for children entering first through third grades. The campers will receive instruction in biology, physical education, music and reading.

“We focus on creative problem solving, science and reading activities related to our theme,” Welker said. “We like to think of our camp as brain exercise for kids during the summer. It gives children a chance to sharpen their intellectual skills midsummer.”

Cost for the Summer Scholars and Young Scholars programs is $100 per student and includes a souvenir, snacks and supplies. The deadline for registration is July 10.

“We look forward to providing quality education for kids in a fun, summer-camp environment at HPU,” Welker said. “We want students to be challenged, learn something new and have a great time.”

Online registration is available at For more information about the Summer Scholars and Young Scholars programs, contact Dr. Welker at (325) 649-8508 or via e-mail at You can also join the Facebook group by searching for “Summer and Young Scholars” on


Photo cutline: Students receive a lesson in robotics from Tami Hull during the 2012 Summer Scholars program at HPU. Hull, who coached Early I.S.D. robotics teams to state competitions for the past three years, will return to teach at HPU’s camp this summer.

HPU observes Mathematics Awareness Month

math_awareness_day_for_webBy Kaleigh Tankersley, HPU junior

BROWNWOOD – May 24, 2013 – Howard Payne University’s Department of Mathematics recognized April as Mathematics Awareness Month. The national theme for this year, according to the American Mathematical Society, was Mathematics of Sustainability, “balancing needs and seeking solutions for a complex changing world.”

The month of April was an exciting time for the students and faculty in the math department as they hosted HPU’s second annual Math Day and participated in many other events.

During the second week of April, two faculty members and four students from the math department traveled to Texas Tech University to attend the Texas Section Meeting of the Mathematical Association of America. While there, the students in attendance represented HPU in the Annual Calculus Bowl. The HPU team consisted of senior mathematics majors Laura Peisker of Cedar Park and Kathryn Barrackman of Houston, as well as juniors James Smith of Comanche and Tim Marlin of Uvalde. Improvement was shown from last year’s team, the first in HPU’s history to compete, as the 2013 team advanced from one of the two preliminary rounds into finals.

“This activity is both fun and competitive for students as it heightens interest in calculus, which is a core discipline for mathematics majors,” said Dr. Kenneth Word, department chair and professor of mathematics.

Toward the end of the month, the School of Science and Mathematics hosted the HPU General Education Math Day. The keynote speaker was Michael Sullivan, professor of mathematics at Joliet Community College in Illinois, the oldest community college in the U.S. Sullivan is the author of “Fundamentals of Statistics,” a Pearson Education publication, which is the textbook used for Introduction to Probability and Statistics at HPU. Sullivan demonstrated a statistics software program called StatCrunch used for data analysis and descriptive statistics that accompanies the MyStatLab software used with his textbook.

The School of Science and Mathematics also hosted the Engineering Math Day, featuring guest speaker Dr. Ron Larson, professor of mathematics at Penn State University in Erie. Dr. Larson is known as the lead author of a comprehensive program for mathematics which spans middle school, high school and college courses. Dr. Larson is even more well-known on HPU’s campus as the author of the pre-calculus text and co-author of the calculus text, both Cengage publications, currently used by the math department. Dr. Larson spoke about six mathematical models that are the basis for most mathematical, physics and engineering problems. He particularly discussed the linear model used to determine Hooke’s Law and the linear regression of a natural logarithmic model used to determine Kepler’s Law concerning the orbits of the planets around the sun.

Also speaking at Engineering Math Day was Thomas Hummel, a graduate of Texas A&M University in College Station and Central Texas College near Fort Hood. An IBM circuit design engineer and retired Army veteran, Hummel is also a veteran of the Iraqi campaign. He spoke of the importance of mathematics in building one’s resume for career prospects in science or engineering.

According to Dr. Word, Mathematics Awareness Month has become a tradition for the HPU mathematics department over the last two years.

“This tradition not only benefits the department but the whole campus as well,” he said.


Photo cutline: Dr. Ron Larson, professor of mathematics at Penn State University in Erie, speaks to students during HPU’s Engineering Math Day.

HPU honor student receives scholarship to study in D.C.

BROWNWOOD – May 22, 2013 – Elizabeth Rogers, a senior political science and European history major in Howard Payne University’s Douglas MacArthur Academy of Freedom multidisciplinary honors program, was recently chosen to participate in the 2013 Engalitcheff Institute on Comparative Political & Economic Systems (ICPES) to be held this summer in Washington, D.C.

Rogers was chosen for ICPES through her participation in the Hatton W. Sumners Program through HPU. Sumners Scholars receive significant financial assistance and opportunities to attend lecture series by national figures and participate in public policy seminars and student leadership conferences. Through the generosity of the Hatton W Sumners Foundation Inc., Rogers was awarded a full scholarship to the D.C. program, covering her tuition and housing expenses.

A native of Grand Junction, Colo., Rogers has participated in Moot Court and Model United Nations throughout her HPU career. She recently completed her junior year while studying abroad in London.

“After graduating from HPU, I plan to attend law school to study criminal or international law,” she said.

ICPES participants take courses for transferable credit, attend a variety of guest lectures and briefings, and take advantage of opportunities for professional development and networking. Students who complete the program are guaranteed an internship with a government agency, Congressional office, policy group, political organization or law firm.

“I am so very proud of Elizabeth to be one of the select few to receive this tremendous opportunity though the Hatton W. Sumners Foundation Scholarship,” said Dr. Justin Murphy, Brand professor of history, dean of the School of Humanities and director of the Academy. “It is a reflection of her preparation through the Academy program and her outstanding qualities as a student.”


HPU staffer named Chamber Ambassador of the Month

karina_daniel_chamber_ambassadorROWNWOOD – May 22, 2013 – Karina Daniel, director of corporate, community and foundation relations at Howard Payne University, was named the May 2013 Ambassador of the Month by the Brownwood Area Chamber of Commerce. Chamber Ambassadors participate in various Chamber and community events and serve as the core volunteer group for the Chamber. The Ambassador of the Month is chosen based on participation in events and programs during the previous month.

Daniel first became involved with the Chamber in 2011 when she participated in Leadership Brownwood through then-employer Blaylock Funeral Home. In the fall of 2011, she volunteered for the Total Resource Campaign (TRC), the Chamber’s eight-week sponsorship and membership drive, and was appointed to the TRC Advisory Committee. She has continued to remain active with the TRC, this year helping to raise more than $118,000 in sponsorships for Chamber events as well as new Chamber memberships.

Daniel became a Chamber Ambassador in spring 2012 and has helped with Chamber activities such as ribbon cuttings, monthly lunches, Business After Hours events, the annual Chamber Banquet, business showcases and more.

Since joining the HPU staff in September 2012, Daniel has remained active with the Chamber.

“I have been very fortunate to have the support of the university,” she said. “Randy Yeakley (vice president for development) encourages me to be active in my Ambassador role for the Chamber, as my involvement benefits HPU and helps build and strengthen community relationships.”


Photo cutline: Karina Daniel, director of corporate, community and foundation relations at HPU, was named the May 2013 Ambassador of the Month by the Brownwood Area Chamber of Commerce.

TexasBank awards $25,000 to HPU through Doss Foundation

texasbank_check_presentation_for_webBROWNWOOD – May 15, 2013 – TexasBank recently announced that more than $79,000 in scholarship funds will be given to local and area high schools and colleges – including $25,000 to Howard Payne University – through the Doss Foundation.

In addition to HPU, benefitting institutions include Tarleton State University ($25,000) and Texas State Technical College Regents Circle ($5,000), with the scholarships being awarded to students from Brown, Comanche and Erath Counties. School districts receiving funds include Bangs, Blanket, Brookesmith, Brownwood, Comanche, Dublin, Early, Goldthwaite, Gustine, May, Sidney, Stephenville and Zephyr.

“TexasBank is proud to be affiliated with such a significant investment in furthering the education of the youth in the markets in which we serve,” said Greg Dodds, president and CEO of TexasBank. “Commitment to the education of our future leaders is of great importance to our Board and Ownership as evidenced in the nearly $350,000 given by the Doss Foundation over the past six years.”

Dr. Bill Ellis, HPU president, announced that the funds donated to HPU will support the university’s Heart of Texas Scholarship. He expressed his appreciation to the Doss Foundation and TexasBank.

“We are proud to partner with TexasBank to provide the highest-quality education to students in Central Texas,” he said. “Their continued financial support for HPU shows TexasBank’s commitment to Brownwood and students in the Heart of Texas.”


Photo cutline: Greg Dodds, president and CEO of TexasBank, presents a check to Dr. Bill Ellis, HPU president.

Mesquite ISD awards HPU alumna for excellence in teaching

BROWNWOOD – May 14, 2013 – Molly (Nickols) Purl, a 2000 Howard Payne University graduate and eighth-grade teacher in Mesquite ISD, was awarded for excellence in teaching during the spring 2013 semester.

The district’s highest honor, the Mesquite ISD Apple Corps program honors outstanding teachers who have been nominated by their peers. Apple Corps teachers demonstrate leadership, innovation and dedication to students. The program was established in 1990, and two teachers are inducted during the district’s Board of Trustees meeting each month.

Purl holds a bachelor’s degree in history with a minor in political science from HPU, as well as a master’s degree in educational administration from Texas A&M University-Commerce. She has taught eighth-grade American history at Agnew Middle School in Mesquite for 13 years.

“Mrs. Purl is highly deserving of the distinction this award brings to her as well as to her family of educators,” said Dr. Michael Rosato, dean of HPU’s School of Education. “Moreover, she continues to bring honor to Howard Payne University and to the School of Education.”

Purl’s father, John Nickols, serves as assistant professor of history and political science at HPU, and her mother, Barbara, is a retired teacher. Purl’s husband, Todd, is also a 2000 HPU graduate, and the couple has two children – Hannah, 9, and Nate, 3.

HPU DPS officers undergo additional training

dps_trainingHoward Payne University’s Department of Public Safety team recently underwent additional training at the new headquarters building. The training was specifically in the fields of New Radio Procedures; Hazardous Materials Recognition and Response; and Officer Safety.

The officers were also recently issued new radios to wear on their uniforms. These new systems allow the officers to be in direct radio communication with Brownwood Police and the 911 Center at all times, 24/7. This enables the officers to respond immediately to emergency situations on campus and also provides them a lifeline by which they can call for immediate assistance from other HPU DPS and Brownwood Police Officers, in the event that they discover an emergency.

“Each officer was also issued a Chief’s Unit Commendation for their remarkable duty this past year,” said Chief Paul Lilly. “This was of course a very stressful year in that it was when we transitioned from security to DPS and underwent a great deal of changes, upgrades and training. Further, Officer Randy Weehunt was issued a Certificate of Appreciation for his quick response and assistance to the IT and various departments at last week’s power outage.”

HPU El Paso Center celebrates opening of new facility

el_paso_ribbon_cutting_for_webThe Howard Payne University El Paso Center celebrated the opening of its new facility at the First Baptist Church in El Paso on April 29. Dr. Bill Ellis, HPU president, gave a special address to the attendees of the open house and Dr. Stephen Kovach, professor of Christian studies for the El Paso Center, offered a prayer of dedication. As part of the celebration, Blanca Gamez, a 2009 graduate with a double major in Christian studies and business management, shared an inspiring story of how her HPU education from the extension center has made a remarkable difference in the life of her family. A special award was given to Bertha Valle, office manager, for her almost 20 years of dedicated service to the extension center. The award was presented by Dr. Ellis and Dale Meinecke, HPU assistant vice president for external programs and church relations.

The extension center’s new home allows for easier access for students all across the El Paso region to attend. Several new courses will be offered next fall as the HPU El Paso Center makes new strides for the future. The Chamber of Commerce, represented by Alicia Ward, held a ribbon cutting and presented the El Paso Center with its own “star” of El Paso.valle_award_presentation_for_web

Pictured from left to right are Dr. Bob Nickell, associate pastor of First Baptist Church in El Paso; Christy Meinecke, HPU admission counselor; Alicia Ward, El Paso Chamber of Commerce; Dr. Carmen Santana, professor of business; Dr. Diana Ellis, HPU first lady; Dr. Stephen Kovach, professor of Christian Studies; Dr. David Lowrie, pastor of First Baptist Church in El Paso; Dr. Bill Ellis, HPU president; Dale Meinecke, HPU assistant vice president for external programs and church relations; Robyn Lowrie, pastor’s wife, First Baptist Church in El Paso; Bertha Valle, office manager of HPU El Paso Center; Erick Jimenez, HPU El Paso admission counselor; and Clinton Wolf, First Baptist Church member.

Pictured from left to right are Dale Meinecke, HPU assistant vice president for external programs and church relations; Bertha Valle, office manager of HPU El Paso Center; and Dr. Bill Ellis, HPU president.

HPU to hold spring Commencement on May 11

BROWNWOOD – May 7, 2013 – Howard Payne University will graduate approximately 138 undergraduate and graduate students at its spring Commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 11, at 10 a.m., in the Brownwood Coliseum.

Dr. Ellis Orozco, senior pastor of First Baptist Church in Richardson, will deliver the charge to the graduates. The undergraduate degrees will be conferred by Dr. Bill Ellis, university president; Dr. David L. Lowrie, Jr., chairman of HPU’s Board of Trustees and senior pastor of First Baptist Church in El Paso; Dr. W. Mark Tew, provost; and Lana Wagner ’97, registrar. Graduate degrees will be conferred by Drs. Ellis and Tew; Dr. Lois Patton, director of the graduate program in business administration and professor of business administration; Dr. Leslie Plagens, dean of the School of Business and professor of business administration; Dr. Joe Robinson, director of the instructional leadership graduate program and associate professor of education; and Dr. Michael Rosato, dean of the School of Education.

Other program participants will include: Corey Ash ’92, director of bands and associate professor of music, directing the Howard Payne University Instrumental Ensemble; Rev. David Cozart ’96, president of HPU’s Alumni Association and minister of education/administration at Meadowbrook Baptist Church in Waco; Tyler Matthew Heidelberg, graduating senior; Ryan David Hogan, graduating senior; Dr. Ronny Marriott, member of HPU’s Board of Trustees and senior pastor of First Baptist Church in Corpus Christi; Dr. Justin Murphy, dean of the School of Humanities, professor of history and director of the Academy of Freedom; and Dr. Elizabeth Wallace ’71, faculty president and professor of music.

Remote parking and shuttle service to the Brownwood Coliseum for Commencement will be available at the parking lot across from the Packer Administration Building on the HPU campus. Buses with identification signs in the windows will begin picking up passengers from remote parking at 9 a.m. and will continue running until one hour after the ceremony. Parking in the vicinity of the Brownwood Coliseum will be more limited than usual on the day of Commencement.

The Commencement ceremony will be preceded on Friday, May 10, by Chime Out, an HPU tradition in which graduating seniors pass a chain of ivy to underclassmen, symbolizing the passing of authority, responsibility and privileges to those students who remain on campus to carry on the traditions of the university. Chime Out begins at 6 p.m. at the J. Howard Hodge Memorial Bell Towers. For more information about Chime Out and Commencement, contact the Office of University Marketing and Communications at (325) 649-8009 or via e-mail at