Monthly News Archives: July 2017

HPU named Best Local College, finalist for Best Place to Work

BROWNWOOD – July 21, 2017 – Howard Payne University was recognized as Best Local College during the Brownwood Bulletin’s recent Best of Brown County awards celebration. HPU was also named a finalist in the Best Place to Work category.

Area citizens were invited to vote in more than 130 categories in the weeks leading up to the celebration.

“We’re extremely honored to be named Best Local College,” said Dr. Bill Ellis, HPU president. “I’m also appreciative for HPU to be named a finalist in the Best Place to Work category. I attribute that to our terrific faculty and staff who have created a welcoming atmosphere for our students as well as our new employees. We’re proud to have been a part of the Brownwood community for the past 128 years and thankful to live and serve alongside the wonderful men and women of Brown County.”

Applications are still being accepted for the fall 2017 and spring 2018 semesters at Howard Payne University. HPU offers a variety of financial aid options including the Heart of Texas Scholarship, which awards $60,000 to students from Brown County and surrounding counties. For more information about HPU, contact HPU’s Office of Admission at 325-649-8020 or by e-mail at


HPU Moot Court students receive additional awards for spring semester

BROWNWOOD – July 21, 2017 – Six Howard Payne University students were among an elite group to receive year-end awards from the Texas Undergraduate Moot Court Association. Five HPU students made the list of TUMCA’s 2017 Top 20 Orators while two HPU teams were among the five best teams in the state.

Receiving orator awards were Isaac Sommers, senior from Boerne, second place; Jordan Hahn, freshman from Burnet, eighth place; Jakob Morgan, senior from Blanket, 13th place; Bailey Myler, sophomore from Brownwood, 14th place; and Rebeca Puente, May 2017 graduate from Waskom, 20th place. Puente and Sommers were named the fourth-best team in the state and Hahn and Andie McCoy, sophomore from Whitehouse, were named the fifth-best team.

The awards were announced following HPU’s stellar Moot Court season. Among the top designations for HPU Moot Court this year, Sommers was named the fifth overall speaker out of 786 competitors at the American Moot Court Association Invitational National Championships held in January at Florida’s Stetson College of Law. Additionally, Sommers and Puente advanced to out-rounds, placing in the top 16 of 80 teams. For written arguments submitted prior to that tournament, Myler and Justin Harris, senior from Fort Worth, placed sixth and Puente and Sommers placed seventh. Puente and Sommers were additionally the champions at the Southern Methodist University tournament in March, and three of HPU’s five teams were among the top 10.

“For years, HPU Moot Court students have proven themselves to be the best in the state,” said Dr. Matthew McNiece, chair and professor of history and government and director of HPU’s Guy D. Newman Honors Academy.

Dr. McNiece expressed his appreciation to the students and to the team’s adviser, Lorianna Kelley, assistant professor of government.

“Professor Kelley is a wonderful coach and mentor to our Moot Court students,” he said. “I’m extremely proud of what they accomplished this year and in the past several years. I look forward to what’s to come.”


HPU group serves in Slovakia

BROWNWOOD – July 20, 2017 – Nine Howard Payne University students traveled to Slovakia at the beginning of the summer for a short-term mission immersion experience. Travelers included students in Dr. Melody Maxwell’s International Missions Practicum course as well as students involved with HPU’s Baptist Student Ministry. The group was accompanied by Dr. Maxwell and Keith Platte, BSM director.

The HPU team led ministry activities among the Roma and Slovak people and learned from Shane and Dianne McNary, field personnel with the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship.

“It was our privilege and joy to be able to interact with such a dynamic and talented group of young scholars,” wrote the McNarys in an e-mail newsletter following the trip.

Dr. Maxwell’s class prepared for the trip the semester prior by studying short-term missions along with the history and culture of the area and the Roma people.

“The Roma are a people group in Europe who are often marginalized and frequently live in poverty,” said Dr. Maxwell. “We were blessed with the opportunity to briefly serve among the Roma alongside the McNarys.”

Among other activities, the group taught English at a public school in Važec and hosted a Bible school for Roma children in partnership with Jekh Drom, a local non-profit. They also connected with Word for the World – Slovakia, a group of people translating the Bible into a local Roma dialect, and the Slovak Bible Society who has partnered with the group in publishing and distributing the Bibles.

Before departing from Europe, the team traveled to Poland where they visited the Auschwitz-Birkenau Museum, Schindler Museum and the Polish Roma Association Museum.

“I thoroughly enjoyed the fact that what we did as tourists directly related to who we had been working with while we were on mission,” said Kara Strange, May 2017 graduate from Fredericksburg. “Our tourism was not without a purpose.”

Tara Carroll, junior from McKinney, said the trip taught her that God speaks to everyone differently.

“God transcends human limitations and can transcend cultural differences as well,” she said. “The Gospel is multifaceted and can to speak to everyone in many ways. God has used the McNarys to do beautiful work in Slovakia and with the Roma people. We were able to come alongside this work with them for a short time. They will continue to do this Gospel work long after we are gone.”

In addition to Strange and Carroll, those on the trip included Daniel Harris, May 2017 graduate from Boerne; Kindell Hill, junior from Jarrell; Tom Kyle, May 2017 graduate from Salado; Anthony McCarson, May 2017 graduate from San Angelo; Erin McCleer, junior from San Angeolo; and Caitlin Vincent, junior from Brownwood.

HPU’s Guy D. Newman Honors Academy broadens students’ horizons

Spencer and McNiece for webBROWNWOOD – July 6, 2017 – Throughout its more than 50-year history, students in Howard Payne University’s Guy D. Newman Honors Academy have been challenged by and edified through a wide array of opportunities.

As HPU’s multidisciplinary honors program, the Academy emphasizes instruction in public policy and civic engagement. Formerly the Douglas MacArthur Academy of Freedom, the Academy was founded in 1962 under the leadership of Dr. Newman, who served as president of the university from 1955 to 1973.

A limited number of students are accepted into the Academy each semester which helps strengthen the bond among the faculty and students.

“We try to emphasize fellowship with students and faculty beyond typical classroom interactions,” said Dr. Matthew McNiece ’03, Academy director and chair and associate professor of history and government.

During the 2016-2017 academic year, the Academy faculty and students hosted a variety of events including the academic presentation of the documentary “Tickling Giants” and watch parties for the presidential debates and election coverage. Academy majors were also among the HPU students who participated in state and national competitions through Moot Court and Mock Trial. Additionally, the Student Speaker Bureau speech and debate team and the Model United Nations team traveled to London and Milan, respectively.

Frequent banquets and meetings allow Academy students to interact with alumni from the program and members of the Academy’s Board of Directors. Students working on their Academy theses also entertain questions from the Board of Directors in preparation of the oral defense before faculty.

“The more we can do to add to their undergraduate experiences in and out of the classroom, the better prepared they’ll be for the kinds of things they’ll face in the ‘real world,’” said Dr. McNiece.

Sydney Spencer of Georgetown graduated Magna Cum Laude from HPU in May 2017 with majors in the Academy, social work and social science (global studies).

“The experiences the Academy offered me through numerous experiential learning opportunities, one-on-one meetings with professors and the thesis curriculum allowed me to grow as a leader and enhance my knowledge of civic policy and its application on both a national and global level,” she said. “As a recent graduate of the program, I feel confident that the Academy and its professors have prepared me to be successful in future job interviews and master’s degree programs.”

Three Academy faculty members, including Dr. McNiece, are graduates from the program.

“Coming back to teach in the Academy says our experiences here were good and valuable, but it’s also our way of giving back,” he said. “The program emphasizes civic engagement and this is one of the ways we demonstrate that.”

The Academy offers several scholarships each year including a maximum of five full-tuition scholarships. Additional scholarship and academic opportunities are offered for junior-level Academy students through the Hatton W. Sumners Foundation.

For more information about the Academy, visit To learn more about enrolling at Howard Payne University, visit or call 325-649-8020.


Cutline: Sydney Spencer, a student in HPU’s Guy D. Newman Honors Academy, graduated in May 2017. She is pictured with Dr. Matthew McNiece, Academy director and chair and associate professor of history and government.

Registration deadline nearing for HPU’s Summer Scholars and Young Scholars camps

operation_innovationBROWNWOOD – July 6, 2017 – There is still time to register for the Summer Scholars and Young Scholars day camps at Howard Payne University. The camps are scheduled July 17-21 from 9 a.m. to noon each day, and those who register by July 10 will receive a free t-shirt. Registration ends July 14.

The programs, featuring instruction in a variety of subjects including robotics and 3D printing, are open to all students in first through sixth grades.

In the Summer Scholars program, students entering fourth through sixth grades will study robotics, 3D printing, science and recreation. The Young Scholars program is designed for children entering first through third grades and the campers will receive instruction in robotics, science and recreation.

“Summer Scholars will be making fidget spinners in 3D printing and will spend more time learning to program the robots in the robotics class,” said Dr. Julie Welker, director of the programs, professor of communication and chair of HPU’s Department of Communication Studies. “Young Scholars students will also spend more time doing robotics and science activities as well.”

Dr. Welker said she has extended class times this year to allow students more hands-on time in the academic areas.

“Our theme this year is ‘Operation Innovation,’ and we want to teach our students that innovation takes time and patience,” she said. “We are providing opportunities for our students to create their own programs and be innovative, all in a fun learning environment.”

Returning as instructors this summer are Estevan Arbaiza, head men’s soccer coach at HPU, who will lead recreation for both camps; Tami Hull, science teacher and robotics coach at Early Middle School, who will teach robotics for Summer Scholars; Dr. Kristen Hutchins, assistant professor of biology at HPU, who will teach science for Young Scholars; Keith Taylor, robotics coach at Early Elementary School, who will teach robotics for Young Scholars; and Dr. Lester Towell, professor and chair of HPU’s Department of Computer Information Systems, who will teach 3D printing for Summer Scholars.

The camps will be held in HPU’s Winebrenner Memorial Hall of Science. Program participants will also have supervised access to HPU’s wellness center, climbing wall and other campus locations.

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

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


Cutline: The theme for HPU’s 2017 Summer Scholars and Young Scholars day camps is “Operation Innovation.”