Yearly News Archives: 2017

HPU Moot Court wins first tournament of the season

Hahn and Sommers with judges for webBROWNWOOD – October 16, 2017 – Howard Payne University students dominated at the first Moot Court invitational tournament of the 2017-2018 season. Jordan Hahn, sophomore from Burnet, and Isaac Sommers, senior from Boerne, were declared tournament champions at the recent St. Mary’s University School of Law tournament in San Antonio.

In addition to Hahn and Sommers, the team of Bailey Myler, junior from Brownwood, and Justin Harris, senior from Fort Worth, finished the first day in the top eight. Hahn and Sommers advanced to semifinals then finals, winning the championship in a 3-0 decision.

“I am so proud of the hard work these four have already put in this semester,” said Lorianna Kelley, assistant professor of government and Moot Court adviser. “It’s a promising start to what I know will be a very successful competition season.”

HPU Moot Court Teams for webThis win is the most recent in a long series of victories for HPU’s Moot Court program. In the spring semester, the team successfully defended its position as one of the best in the state by winning the tournament at Southern Methodist University. At the end of the semester, six HPU 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.


Cutlines: HPU students Jordan Hahn, second from left, and Isaac Sommers, fourth from left, are pictured with the Moot Court judges upon being named tournament champions.

HPU Moot Court students dominated at the recent tournament at St. Mary’s University School of Law. Left to right: Isaac Sommers, Jordan Hahn, Bailey Myler and Justin Harris.

HPU faculty member earns doctoral degree

Dr Dennis GibsonBROWNWOOD – October 12, 2017 – Howard Payne University’s Dennis Gibson, assistant professor of physical sciences, recently completed his Doctor of Philosophy degree with a major in chemistry from South Dakota State University.

Dr. Gibson, who joined the HPU faculty this fall, titled his dissertation “Relationship of the fractal and chemical characteristics of self-assembled natural organic matter.”

“We’re proud to have Dr. Gibson as a member of our chemistry faculty at HPU and we’re excited to celebrate his accomplishments with him,” said Dr. Pam Bryant, dean of HPU’s School of Science and Mathematics.

Dr. Gibson earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Northwestern State University of Louisiana. Before arriving at HPU, he served as graduate teaching assistant at South Dakota State University from 2012 to 2017 and as chemistry tutor and laboratory teaching assistant at Northwestern State University from 2009 to 2012.


Cutline: Dennis Gibson, assistant professor of physical sciences at HPU, recently completed his doctorate from South Dakota State University.

HPU Student Speaker Bureau members named tournament semifinalists

SSB Team Photo Fall 2017BROWNWOOD – October 12, 2017 – Howard Payne University’s Student Speaker Bureau recently competed at The Storm Classic speech and debate tournament at Southeastern Oklahoma State University with one debate team advancing to the semifinal round.

The debate team of Christopher Freeland, junior theatre education major from Bangs, and Tyler Olin, junior social science jurisprudence and Guy D. Newman Honors Academy major from Howe, were semifinalists, beating teams from Texas State University, Abilene Christian University, Texas Christian University, the University of Oklahoma and others.

“This first tournament of the year was a very difficult one, with many large schools from the Midwest,” said Dr. Julie Welker, chair of the Department of Communication, professor of communication and Student Speaker Bureau coach. “For HPU to be in the top four teams of the tournament was a great accomplishment by these two young men.”

Freeland also advanced to semifinals in impromptu speaking.

Other team members who competed in the tournament were Brooklyn Britton, sophomore theatre major from Brownwood; Esmerelda Maldonado, freshman communication, social science jurisprudence and Guy D. Newman Honors Academy major from Whitney; Lucy Manning, freshman communication, social science jurisprudence and Guy D. Newman Honors Academy major from Fort Worth; Madison Neal, sophomore communication and social science jurisprudence major from Chandler; and Aimee Orozco, senior communication and Spanish major from Shepherd. Richelle Hair, instructor of communication, assisted with the team.

The team’s next event will be hosting the British National Debate team in an exhibition debate this Sunday, Oct. 15, at 7:30 p.m. The exhibition event, which is free and open to the public, will be held in the Richard and Wanda Jackson Conference Room of HPU’s Paul and Jane Meyer Faith and Life Leadership Center.

For more information about HPU’s Student Speaker Bureau, visit


Cutline: Members of HPU’s Student Speaker Bureau were named semifinalists at a recent tournament. Team members include (back row, from left) Dr. Julie Welker (coach), Aimee Orozco, Lucy Manning and Esmerelda Maldonado and (front row, from left) Christopher Freeland, Madison Neal, Brooklyn Britton and Tyler Olin.

HPU Homecoming festivities to include bonfire, fireworks and parade

HC17 Parade Route Map

BROWNWOOD – October 12, 2017 – Howard Payne University will host a bonfire, fireworks display and parade as featured events of the university’s Homecoming 2017 celebrations. The bonfire and fireworks display are scheduled for Friday, October 20, beginning at 9:00 p.m. The events will take place at the Bert V. Massey II Sports Complex in Brownwood. The parade is scheduled for Saturday, October 21, at 10:00 a.m. on and around the HPU campus. The public is invited to attend each of these events and other events throughout the weekend.

Last year’s bonfire and fireworks show drew a crowd of more than 700 community members and HPU personnel, alumni and students.

“It was great to share HPU’s Homecoming excitement with our friends in the community,” said Laura Benoit, director of alumni relations. “We’re thankful to be able to do that again this year.”

This year’s HPU Homecoming parade will follow the same route as last year. Beginning at Brownwood Coliseum, the parade will travel north on Baker St., turn left onto Center Ave., move across Austin Ave. and enter the HPU campus. The procession will end in front of HPU’s Doakie Day Art Center on Center Ave. The best areas to view the parade are downtown and on campus along Center Ave.

The parade, sponsored by Bruner Auto Group, will feature student-designed floats and other attractions including the Homecoming Honorees, HPU Yellow Jacket Marching Band and the HPU mascot, Buzzsaw.

Community organizations interested in participating in the parade can register online at A complete schedule of Homecoming events is available at the same address.

Cutline: A map shows the route for HPU’s Homecoming parade. Click on the image to zoom.

HPU Sumners Scholars attend lecture by FCC chairman

HPU Sumner Scholars with FCC ChairmanBROWNWOOD – October 11, 2017 – Students from Howard Payne University’s Guy D. Newman Honors Academy recently attended a public policy lecture through the Institute for Policy Innovation. Ajit Pai, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, spoke on the topic “Preserving a Free, Open and Innovative Internet.”

The event was underwritten by the Hatton W. Sumners Foundation. The HPU students, designated as Sumners Scholars, are selected for a competitive four-semester program after an in-depth application and interview by the trustees of the Sumners Foundation. The foundation provides a $7,500-per-semester stipend for its participating students to be used for tuition, fees, books or room and board. Additionally, the students are invited to attend annual leadership and policy analysis conferences, such as this one, to supplement their learning.

HPU Sumners Scholars attending the lecture were Jessica Catlett, junior from Alleyton; Rachel Hughes, senior from Llano; Augusta Johnson, senior from Gatesville; Joel Justice, senior from Brownwood; Tyler Olin, junior from Howe; Emma Reed, junior from Arlington; Isaac Sommers, senior from Boerne; and Rachel White, senior from Arkadelphia, Arkansas.

Named for its founder, former Congressman Hatton W. Sumners of Texas (Democrat, 1912-1947), who served as the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, the Hatton W. Sumners Foundation is dedicated to the study, teaching and promotion of self-government.

“We’re extremely grateful to the Sumners Foundation for its ongoing support of HPU students as well as for its commitment to promoting programs that increase understanding of civic responsibility and personal potential,” said Dr. Matthew McNiece, director of HPU’s Guy D. Newman Honors Academy and chair and professor of history and government.

More information about the Academy and the Sumners program may be found at and, respectively.


Cutline: HPU Sumners Scholars recently attended a lecture by Ajit Pai, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission. Left to right: Tyler Olin, Emma Reed, Augusta Johnson, Rachel Hughes, Ajit Pai, Rachel White, Joel Justice, Isaac Sommers and Jessica Catlett.

ISAAC Project’s Dr. Jesús Romero speaks at HPU

Dr Jesus Romero for webBROWNWOOD – October 11, 2017 – Dr. Jesús Romero, director of the Baptist General Convention of Texas (Texas Baptists) ISAAC Project, spoke at HPU recently as part of the university’s observance of National Hispanic Heritage Month, September 15-October 15.

Dr. Romero, a former HPU faculty member, addressed a joint session of HPU classes about issues regarding immigration. ISAAC, an abbreviation for Immigration Service and Aid Center, is a project of Texas Baptists’ Christian Life Commission and Baptist University of the Américas.

According to the organization’s website,, ISAAC provides unbiased immigration information from a Christian perspective. ISAAC staff members assist churches and organizations in obtaining immigration law training, in starting English as a Second Language and other citizenship and literacy courses, and in education and information on immigration matters.

Dr. Romero’s discussion was attended by students from the Department of Modern Languages and Hispanic Studies, the Department of Criminal Justice and the Department of Social Work and Sociology. Dan Humeniuk, chair of the latter department and assistant professor of social work, said Dr. Romero encouraged students to view the topic of immigration through the lens of Christianity.

“The ISAAC project seeks to engage the immigrant community through a variety of methods and Christian ministries,” said Humeniuk. “Students from each department benefited from Dr. Romero’s insight and passion for the subject.”

Dr. Romero, originally of Monterrey, Mexico, holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Spanish language and literature from Monterrey Tech, a Master of Arts degree in Spanish from New Mexico State University and a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Spanish from the University of Arizona. In addition to his role with the ISAAC Project, Dr. Romero serves as professor of Spanish and chair of the Department of Modern Languages at Baptist University of the Américas.


Cutline: Dr. Jesús Romero, director of the ISAAC Project and chair of the Department of Modern Languages at Baptist University of the Américas, recently spoke at HPU as part of the university’s observance of National Hispanic Heritage Month. Photo courtesy of Baptist University of the Américas.

Dr. Keith Reyes of El Paso among HPU Homecoming 2017 honorees

ReyesBROWNWOOD – October 10, 2017 – Dr. Keith Reyes of El Paso has been named recipient of Howard Payne University’s Dr. José Rivas Distinguished Service Award. He is among nine who will be honored during HPU’s 2017 Homecoming festivities, October 20-21. Additional honorees are listed at and will be highlighted in the days to come.

Dr. Reyes will be recognized during the Hispanic Fellowship Breakfast on Saturday, October 21. The honorees will also be featured in the Homecoming Parade beginning at 10 a.m. Ticket information for the breakfast and a full schedule of the weekend’s events are available online at

A 2005 HPU graduate, Dr. Reyes earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Christian studies with a minor in practical theology. He went on to earn a Master of Arts degree in sociology from The University of Texas at El Paso and a Doctor of Education degree in educational leadership from Washington State University.

He has served as an educator at multiple levels at Texas locations including El Paso, Fort Stockton, Tornillo and Van Horn, as well as in Grandview, Washington. He now serves as assistant professor of educational leadership at Central Washington University in Ellensburg, Washington, where he currently resides.

Dr. Reyes is active in his church and is a member of the American Sociological Association and the University Council of Educational Administration. He and his wife, Eileen, have one son, Eian.

Dr. Reyes said HPU provided him with a solid, Christian education that equipped him for the academic and intellectual rigors of graduate school as well as for the daily, practical challenges of living his life as “a faithful, always unworthy, ambassador and servant of (his) Lord Jesus Christ.”

“HPU afforded me the opportunity to build relationships with other members of the body of Christ when I previously had none,” he said. “In doing so, it exposed me to the manifold wisdom of God in seeing God bringing together people who are so different from one another, from various economic, racial, social and even denominational backgrounds, and blessing me with the opportunity to see God work in and through imperfect people for His glory and honor and for the expansion of His kingdom.”


Cutline: Dr. Keith Reyes of El Paso is among nine who will be honored during HPU’s Homecoming 2017 activities, October 20-21.

HPU to present Homecoming musical “The Pirates of Penzance”

Pirates of Penzance logoBROWNWOOD – October 9, 2017 – Howard Payne University’s School of Music and Fine Arts will present Gilbert and Sullivan’s “The Pirates of Penzance” in conjunction with the university’s Homecoming 2017 celebrations. Performances are Thursday, October 19, through Saturday, October 21, at 8 p.m. each evening at HPU’s Mims Auditorium. Admission is $8 for adults and $5 for children and students. Tickets are available for purchase online at or at the door on the evenings of the performances.

“The Pirates of Penzance,” a classic comedic operetta, is one of the most famed products of the theatrical partnership of librettist W.S. Gilbert and composer Arthur Sullivan. It follows the story of Frederic, a member of a band of pirates. It is quickly explained that when Frederic was young, his nurse mistakenly apprenticed him to a pirate rather than a pilot. Frederic announces his resolve to forsake the pirate life and work wholeheartedly to their extermination.

Dr. Celeste Church, professor of music and dean of institutional research and effectiveness, serves as the production’s artistic director.

“‘The Pirates of Penzance’ is a well-known and much-loved show that allows the audience to enjoy the humor of opera while keeping it well within the grasp of general audiences,” she said. “Our cast, orchestra and crew have spent weeks rehearsing to put on a great show suitable for the whole family.”

Cast members include Caleb Bostick, freshman from Brownwood; Jake Bowren, sophomore from San Antonio; Jayland Brown, freshman from Temple; Leland Brown, freshman from Euless; Kayla Chadwick, senior from Tulia; Josh Collier, freshman from Voca; Camila Cotter, junior from Garden Ridge; Piper Davis, freshman from Bulverde; Taylor Davis, sophomore from Alvin; Jarod Dowling, junior from Grandview; Christopher Freeland, junior from Bangs; Marissa Godbey, senior from Austin; Josiah Hughes, sophomore from Katy; Hayden Jacobs, senior from Lytle; Victoria Malone, senior from Fort Worth; Bryce McWhirter, junior from Pflugerville; Ryan Miles, sophomore from Goldthwaite; Madison Miller, sophomore from Granbury; Ashleigh Moss, junior from Alvarado; Sadie Perez, freshman from Brownwood; Brendyn Porter, junior from Red Oak; Cassia Rose, senior from Winnsboro; Andi Rosenquist, freshman from Brownwood; Penny Stehlik, sophomore from Round Rock; Natalie Stephens, senior from Alvarado; Izzy Vela, freshman from Brownwood; and Luke Victor, sophomore from Austin.

In addition to Dr. Celeste Church, crew members include Dr. Gregory Church, professor of music, as musical director; Dr. Nancy Jo Humfeld, professor of theatre and chair of the Department of Theatre, as choreographer; Dr. Nicholas Ewen, assistant professor of theatre, as set/technical designer; and Deejay Moses, junior from May, as stage manager.

For more information about “The Pirates of Penzance,” contact HPU’s School of Music and Fine Arts at 325-649-8500.

More than 30 other events are scheduled for Homecoming weekend, October 20-21. Alumni and visitors may register for Homecoming online. Some events require purchased tickets while many are free of charge. For complete details and the latest schedule information, visit or contact the Office of Alumni Relations at 325-649-8044 or via e-mail at


HPU senior Carla Morales awarded UPS Scholarship

Carla MoralesBROWNWOOD – October 6, 2017 – Howard Payne University senior Carla Morales, a Spanish major and kinesiology minor from Magnolia, has been selected to receive a UPS Scholarship provided by the Independent Colleges and Universities of Texas (ICUT) Foundation and its national partner, the Council of Independent Colleges (CIC).

Carla is the daughter of Javier and Veronica Morales and a 2014 graduate of Magnolia High School.

At the national level, CIC teams up with the UPS Foundation to distribute funding of the UPS Scholarship. Through this program this year, the ICUT Foundation awarded $170,250 in UPS Scholarships to 39 students at private institutions across Texas.

The Council of Independent Colleges (CIC) is an association of more than 700 nonprofit independent colleges and universities and higher education affiliates and organizations that has worked since 1956 to support college and university leadership, advance institutional excellence, and enhance public understanding of private higher education’s contributions to society. CIC is the major national organization focused on providing services to leaders of independent colleges and universities as well as conferences, seminars and other programs that help institutions improve educational quality, administrative and financial performance, and institutional visibility. CIC conducts the largest annual conferences of college and university presidents and of chief academic officers. CIC also provides support to state associations that organize programs and generate contributions for their member colleges and universities, including the ICUT Foundation. The Council is headquartered at One Dupont Circle in Washington, D.C. For more information, visit


Cutline: HPU senior Carla Morales is the recipient of this year’s UPS Scholarship.

HPU invites choir alumni to participate in Homecoming choir concert

Alumni_Choir_LogoBROWNWOOD – October 5, 2017 – Howard Payne University’s School of Music and Fine Arts will present a Homecoming choir concert at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, October 21, in the university’s Mims Auditorium. All HPU alumni choristers are invited to participate in the program.

During the concert, the alumni choir will present one special piece and then join the HPU Concert Choir for “The Majesty and Glory of Your Name” by Tom Fettke. Rehearsal for this special concert will take place Saturday, October 21, from 8:00 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. Alumni who are interested in participating will be provided music and more information upon registration.

“The choir concert is an incredible visual and aural representation of the musical heritage of HPU’s choral program, and we look forward to seeing different generations joining in song,” said Dr. Christopher Rosborough ’08, assistant professor of music and director of choral activities.

If you are interested in taking part in this event, register at and follow the prompts to sign up for the HPU Alumni Choir.

More than 30 other events are scheduled for Homecoming weekend, October 20-21. Alumni and visitors may register for Homecoming online. Some events require purchased tickets while many are free of charge. For complete details and the latest schedule information, visit or contact the Office of Alumni Relations at 325-649-8044 or via e-mail at


Cutline: HPU’s School of Music and Fine Arts invites all HPU alumni choristers to take part in the Homecoming choir concert on October 21.