Monthly News Archives: December 2015

HPU announces holiday schedule

BROWNWOOD – December 15, 2015 – Howard Payne University will be closed Monday, Dec. 21, through Friday, Jan. 1, in observance of the Christmas and New Year’s Day holidays. Offices will reopen on Monday, Jan. 4.

HPU’s Office of Institutional Advancement (The Harrison House), located at 803 Center Ave., will be open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Wednesday, December 30, and Thursday, December 31, to process end-of-the-year gifts. The Office of Institutional Advancement may be reached at (325) 649-8006 or (800) 950-8465.

HPU’s spring 2016 semester begins Monday, Jan. 11.

HPU’s Harmon exhibiting work at Lubbock gallery

BROWNWOOD – December 15, 2015 – A painting by David Harmon, chair of Howard Payne University’s Department of Art, was accepted to the group exhibition “White on White” at the Louise Hopkins Underwood Center for the Arts in Lubbock. The exhibition is open now through January 23.

Each piece in the exhibition features monochromatic works from the many hues and shades of white. The Louise Hopkins Underwood Center for the Arts is open 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday, and is free to the public.

Harmon additionally presented a paper in New York City this fall at the National Conference on Liberal Arts and the Education of Artists. His paper was titled “Revealing Aesthetics in Art Appreciation.” The conference, held at the famous Warwick New York Hotel, was sponsored by the School of Visual Arts.

“Mr. Harmon’s commitment to his professional development is apparent in his accomplishments in and out of the classroom,” said Dr. Richard Fiese, dean of HPU’s School of Music and Fine Arts. “His passion for art is reflected in his works as well as in the works of his students.”


Photo cutline: David Harmon, chair of HPU’s Department of Art, is exhibiting a painting at a Lubbock gallery.

HPU expanding presence in New Braunfels thanks to local businessman

BROWNWOOD – December 14, 2015 – Howard Payne University’s presence in New Braunfels is expanding thanks to the generosity of New Braunfels businessman and HPU alumnus Bob Knoll, CEO of Millennium Packaging/Supplize. Knoll has offered the university the use of a facility in New Braunfels as a home for the HPU New Braunfels Center to grow during the next several years. The university looks forward to eventually building a permanent campus in the community as part of the Veramendi development project.

Dr. Dale Meinecke, assistant vice president for external affairs and assistant professor of Christian studies, sees this new development as an opportunity to further extend the legacy of HPU to the community of New Braunfels. The “Extending the Legacy” theme pays homage to the 126-year history of HPU’s main campus in Brownwood.

“Our desire is to continue extending HPU’s rich legacy into New Braunfels, offering the same type of caring, Christian environment in which students may grow both academically and spiritually,” Dr. Meinecke said.

HPU has maintained a presence in the community since March 2012 when the HPU Board of Trustees approved extending education to New Braunfels. Since that time, HPU’s New Braunfels Center has served more than 100 students in its graduate and undergraduate programs.

Knoll felt compelled to partner with HPU in the mission of bringing Christ-centered, quality higher education to the Austin/San Antonio corridor. The building is located off Interstate 35 at 4102 Loop 337 in New Braunfels and will be remodeled to include administrative offices, classrooms, a conference room and study areas to accommodate the planned expansion of HPU. Classes will be held in the new building beginning in summer 2016.

“This new building will allow us to welcome more students to the HPU family over the next few years,” said Dr. Meinecke. “We have been blessed beyond measure by Mr. Knoll’s generosity.”

To learn more about HPU’s plans to expand in New Braunfels, and how you can get involved, call (830) 629-2366 or e-mail Information may also be found online at


Photo cutline: An architectural rendering shows the new facility for Howard Payne University’s New Braunfels Center once necessary renovations are complete.

Early HPU artifact discovered in attic of Brownwood home

ellis and music faculty for webBROWNWOOD – December 14, 2015 – An item found in the attic of a Brownwood home was recently given a prominent new location at Howard Payne University. A 117-year-old Howard Payne diploma – the oldest known in existence – was discovered and donated to the university by Derek and Stephanie Kirbo of Brownwood.

The diploma was awarded to Miss Bessie Doswell Ramey in 1898 upon the completion of “the full course in Piano, Harmony, and History of Music.” The university, which was founded in 1889, granted its first degree in 1895.

“The diploma is in astonishingly good condition given its age,” said Dr. Bill Ellis, HPU president. Dr. Ellis presented the diploma to representatives of HPU’s School of Music and Fine Arts during the university’s Recital Hour. The artifact is now on display in the university’s Davidson Music Complex.

The Ramey family was well known in the area, with ties to the Howard Payne founders and other pioneers. Bessie Ramey’s father, John James Ramey, died in 1895. His obituary reads, “Mr. Ramey’s name is inseparably connected with Howard Payne College, of Brownwood, and more than any one man, with the exception of Dr. John D. Robnett, the founder of the institution, supported the college at a time when it was in sore need of friends.”

Although little more is known about Bessie Ramey and her time at Howard Payne, Dr. Ellis emphasized the significance of the diploma’s discovery.

“The individuals who founded Howard Payne built it out of nothing near the very beginning of the establishment of Brownwood,” he said. “Early students like Bessie Ramey paved the way for future generations. We’re so thankful to the Kirbos and will cherish the diploma for many years to come.”


Photo cutline: A 117-year-old Howard Payne diploma found in a Brownwood attic now has a permanent home inside the university’s Davidson Music Complex. Left to right: Corey Ash, associate professor of music and director of bands; Dr. Elizabeth Wallace, chair of the Department of Music and professor of music; Dr. Richard Fiese, dean of the School of Music and Fine Arts; Dr. Bill Ellis, HPU president; and Dr. Gregory Church, associate professor of music.

Mustaches for Missions: HPU fundraising tradition garners donations and laughs

BROWNWOOD – December 11, 2015 – Members of Last Beard Standing, the Moostaches and The Fan{tache}tics all stepped up to the Mustache Wheel of Doom at Howard Payne University Monday evening to learn the fate of their facial hair. The Baptist Student Ministry’s annual fundraising event brought in $5,331 for student missions.

Each November, participating male students, faculty and staff members refrain from shaving for the month while selling t-shirts and collecting donations for the Baptist General Convention of Texas’ Go Now Missions. The teams that raise the least amount of money spin the Mustache Wheel of Doom and shave in whichever style the wheel determines. The choices include stripes, half-beards, “no-tee goatees” and more. The participants keep their entertaining new facial-hair stylings throughout the remainder of Finals Week.

The Mustache Wheel of Doom is held each year in conjunction with HPU’s Pancake Supper. Faculty and staff serve pancakes and other breakfast foods to students as they eagerly await to see the results.

“I am extremely honored to serve with a team of students who make missions fundraising a priority,” said Keith Platte, director of HPU’s BSM. “They helped to raise money for our usual goal of $4,000, but exceeded it by more than $1,300. I could not ask for a greater group of students and supporters to help us send students on missions to share the Good News of Jesus Christ.”


Photo cutline: HPU junior Evan Fleming, left, and Keith Platte, BSM director, await the results of Fleming’s Mustache Wheel of Doom spin. Photo by Rachel Ellington, HPU senior.

Teaching and athletic training paths combine for HPU grad’s career

BROWNWOOD – December 11, 2015 – Ty Goodwin, senior from Stephenville, will graduate with a double major this Saturday, December 12, from Howard Payne University. He will receive a Bachelor of Science degree in athletic training and in exercise and sport science (ESS) with all-level certification.

Goodwin wanted to attend HPU after high school but did not feel it would be possible for financial reasons. However, HPU contacted Goodwin and offered a scholarship that would make it possible for him to attend.

Goodwin started at HPU while the Athletic Training Education Program (ATEP) was still working on its accreditation. Through the faculty at HPU, Goodwin found athletic training appealing and hoped to pursue a certification in that area as well. When the athletic training program gained accreditation through the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education (CAATE), he was told that the athletic training degree would become a major. So, he geared his studies toward the athletic training degree in addition to ESS with all-level certification.

In addition to classroom instruction for both ESS and athletic training, Goodwin traveled with various HPU sports teams which gave him more hands-on training opportunities, but took much of his time.

“The amount of hours an athletic training student puts in is a lot like going to school full time while working a full time job,” said Susan Sharp, certification officer and administrative assistant in the School of Education. “Ty was a hard worker and had a great attitude about the work load.”

Goodwin completed his ESS student teaching requirement at Dublin Secondary School, which is a seventh through twelfth grade campus. After graduation, he will teach at Dublin Secondary School and be the district’s athletic trainer. He stated that being a double major in ESS and athletic training offers more opportunities because he can teach part of the day and do athletic training the other part of the day.

“HPU really laid the framework for me to be certified in both teaching and athletic training,” said Goodwin.

Goodwin credits much of his success to the many relationships he fostered while at HPU. He says that all of the HPU faculty members were very helpful and flexible in helping him achieve both of his degrees.

“It’s about the relationships,” said Goodwin. “You’re not just a number.”

Mike Terrill, assistant professor of athletic training and Athletic Training Education Program director, was Goodwin’s advisor.

“Ty is an outstanding young man and has been a great student,” said Terrill. “Once Ty passes the Board of Certification exam, he will be a National Association of Athletic Trainers (NATA) Certified Athletic Trainer and a Texas State Licensed Athletic Trainer.”

Including Goodwin, HPU will graduate 16 new teachers from its School of Education this Saturday.


Photo cutline: Ty Goodwin will graduate with a double major in athletic training and exercise sport science this Saturday, December 12.

HPU social work students’ lives impacted as they experience poverty

BROWNWOOD – December 10, 2015 – Seven Howard Payne University students recently took part in one of Mission Waco’s Poverty Simulations, an experience designed to give participants a firsthand look at poverty in America.

Mission Waco creates a safe, controlled weekend of experiences that is designed to increase empathy for those living in poverty in America. HPU students joined approximately 40 other people of all ages to go through this simulation together.

Dan Humeniuk, assistant professor of social work and chair of HPU’s Department of Criminal Justice, Social Work and Sociology, takes part in the simulation with his students each year. He shared his takeaway from the experience.

“It’s a personal journey,” said Humeniuk. “You are certainly taken out of your comfort zone.”

The poverty simulation participants were not given any luxuries, including transportation. They had to walk everywhere they needed to go.

“By our estimates, and walking about three miles per hour, you walk about twelve to fourteen miles during the entire simulation,” said Humeniuk.

The group had the opportunity to experience a church service and worship under a bridge that Sunday morning as well. Mission Waco conducts the church services, and as part of the simulation, participants have to walk one and a half miles from the site to the bridge. On the way to Church Under the Bridge, they walk past two large, affluent churches. Groups of people from all over Waco, college students, families and homeless people all join together to worship under the bridge.

Rebecca Blohm, sophomore from Midlothian, was impacted greatly by Church Under the Bridge.

“The people made their way to worship God under a busy highway unashamed and ready to love,” said Blohm. “No matter what walk of life or struggle people were facing, they were so thankful and faithful to God and His grace. It was an amazing example that I wish everyone could experience at least once in their lives.”

Karina Garcia, junior from Brownwood, was also touched by attending Church Under the Bridge during the simulation.

“To see people who have almost nothing still have faith in God and to be able to hold their hands up high and praise God was a beautiful sight to see,” said Garcia. “I want to have faith as strong as them.”

According to Humeniuk, Church Under the Bridge is an aspect of the weekend that always grabs the students’ attention.

“Upon returning home, one of our students felt the need to make sure she and her family were more faithful in their worship,” Humeniuk said.

Amy Tyler, junior from Early, came away from the experience ready to give back to the local community. Humeniuk commented on her experience.

“Amy was so touched by what went on that she presented a project to the HPU Social Work Club about putting together hygiene packets for people in our community who are homeless,” said Humeniuk.

The HPU Social Work Club took Tyler’s recommendation and made packets by way of donations. Six members from the club and two faculty members served lunch at the Salvation Army this past Friday and were able to leave the packets with Salvation Army personnel. Those packets will be distributed to the homeless and those at risk of being homeless in Brownwood.

“Poverty is about more than just money,” said Blohm. “It is an attitude and lifestyle that involves loneliness and hopelessness. It is just as important to give a listening ear or some time to visit and show interest in others’ lives.”

Garcia took the time to just listen to some of the homeless people she met in Waco.

“They want you to know their stories,” said Garcia. “This experience and what I learned will make me a better social worker.”

In addition to Blohm, Garcia and Tyler, other students who attended were Melanie Hammond, senior from Springtown; Emily Selman, sophomore from Red Oak; Marshall Wirtz, sophomore from Comanche; and HPU graduate Paula Johnson ’15.


Photo cutline: HPU students and faculty participated in a Poverty Simulation in Waco earlier this semester. They are pictured on the HPU campus. Left to right: Dan Humeniuk, Marshall Wirtz, Rebecca Blohm, Melanie Hammond, Paula Johnson, Amy Tyler, Karina Garcia and Emily Selman.

Graduating senior Margarita Solis reflects on HPU experiences

“Howard Payne is Home”

By Rachel Ellington, HPU senior

BROWNWOOD – December 10, 2015 – Saturday’s graduating class at Howard Payne University is characterized by many dedicated Yellow Jackets. One of them is Margarita Solis of Gonzales, a history major with minors in Bible and English.

She reflects on her first impression of HPU during her senior year of high school.

“It was the hand-written Christmas card from the admission office that caught my attention,” she says. “I liked the campus when I got here, but I had no idea that I would end up loving it so much.”

During her freshman year, she was on her way to lunch one day when a friend asked her to participate in IMPACT Weekend, an outreach event the Baptist Student Ministry (BSM) hosts each year. She has attended for the past four years and has been a part of the IMPACT task force for the past two years. She also part of the leadership team for the Nursing Home Ministry through the BSM.

“It is so important to get out into the community as students because we live in this town too,” remarks Solis. “I get to do this along with a group of other Howard Payne students who want to serve and be a part of something greater.”

When asked what she will miss most about Howard Payne, Solis laughs.

“Everything,” she says. “All the events HPU hosts, all the adventures I went on with my friends, the inside jokes with my classmates and professors – each day brought new things to remember.”

Solis has also been a part of Secret Service, the set-up crew for Jacket Journey, as well as a member of Blue Crew, the HPU spirit squad.

“Margarita is one of the kindest, most loving, and all around most joyful people in my life,” says Mike McConnell, fellow senior and student body president. “Her indomitable spirit and ever-present smile have brightened my day on countless occasions, and I am a better person for knowing her the past four years.”

She plans on taking a semester off then spending six months in Peru teaching English and working with a children’s ministry. She then hopes to begin graduate coursework in history and youth ministry.

Solis sums up her HPU experience.

“Howard Payne is a place where you can learn not just what to know for an exam, but things to take with you forever,” she says. “My professors taught me how to learn and how to be prepared. My friends and I grew up together here. I am not sure about my career goals. I just know that I want to make an impact and Howard Payne has prepared me to do that. Howard Payne is home.”


Photo cutline: Margarita Solis will graduate Saturday from Howard Payne University.

HPU Commencement scheduled for Saturday

BROWNWOOD – December 9, 2015 – Howard Payne University’s December Commencement will be held this Saturday, December 12, beginning at 10 a.m. at the Brownwood Coliseum.

Dr. Bill Ellis, university president, and other university representatives will confer 94 undergraduate and graduate degrees. Rick Akins ’75, attorney at Akins, Nowlin and Prewitt, LLP, of Round Rock, will deliver the charge to the graduates.

An honorary Doctor of Humanities degree will be presented to Richard W. Nassar of El Paso. Nassar, who was born in Lebanon, immigrated to the United States in 1975. Nassar is an active member and ordained deacon of El Paso’s First Baptist Church through which he founded the Middle Eastern Studies Ministry. Since retirement, he has focused his ministry on establishing a dialogue between Christians, Muslims and Jews, using his personal and professional influence to advance the cause of Christ.

Additional Commencement program participants include Corey Ash ’92, associate professor of music and director of bands; Dr. Donnie Auvenshine ’75, dean of the School of Christian Studies and professor of Christian studies; Rev. Rick Ellington, pastor of Hubbard Chapel Baptist Church of Quitman; Dr. Gary Gramling ’81, director of HPU’s graduate program in youth ministry and professor of Christian studies; Matthew Haynie ’09, vice president of HPU’s Alumni Association; Rev. Doug Hurt, pastor of Northridge Baptist Church of Brownwood; Jessi Nicole Jordan, class of 2015; Dr. Brad Lemler, interim dean of HPU’s School of Business and professor of accounting; Dr. Justin D. Murphy, dean of HPU’s School of Humanities, Brand professor of history and director of the Guy D. Newman Honors Academy; Dr. Debra Powell, assistant professor of business administration; Dr. Harlan Scott, faculty president, associate professor of biology and chair of the Department of Biological Sciences; Carter Sharpe, first vice chairman of HPU’s Board of Trustees; Dr. W. Mark Tew, provost and chief academic officer; Lana Wagner ’97, registrar; and the HPU Instrumental Ensemble.

The Commencement ceremony will be preceded on Friday, December 11, 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 university’s Mims Auditorium.


HPU brings home top speaker award, other accolades from recent debate tournament

clark_ssbBROWNWOOD – December 8, 2015 – HPU’s Student Speaker Bureau speech and debate team recently competed at the Texas Intercollegiate Forensics Association (TIFA) Fall Championship tournament, held at Del Mar College in Corpus Christi. Braxton Clark, junior social science global studies major from Southlake, was named top debate speaker at the tournament.

Clark and team member Ashley Moon, senior communication major from Waxahachie, won third place in parliamentary debate at the tournament. Additionally, HPU won 5th place overall sweepstakes in the tournament, competing against 23 schools from Texas and Louisiana.

Dr. Julie Welker, professor of communication and chair of the Department of Communication, directs the team.

“I am so proud of how well our team competed at this tournament,” she said. “TIFA is always very competitive, so for our team to receive the top speaker award and the fifth place sweepstakes is quite an accomplishment.”

Also competing at the tournament were Morgan Ashmore, junior communication major from Weatherford; Andrea Balderas, sophomore biology major from Lytle; Christopher Freeland, freshman chemistry and Guy D. Newman Honors Academy major from Brownwood; Reagan Grisham, sophomore theatre major from Arlington; and Luis Ortiz, junior English and Guy D. Newman Honors Academy major from Brownsville.


Photo cutline: HPU Student Speaker Bureau member Braxton Clark was named the top debate speaker at a recent tournament.