Yearly News Archives: 2017

Esther Camacho of Flagstaff among HPU Homecoming 2017 honorees

CamachoBROWNWOOD – October 5, 2017 – Esther Camacho of Flagstaff, Arizona, has been named the 2017 Coming Home Queen by Howard Payne University. She is among nine who will be honored during HPU’s Homecoming festivities, October 20-21. Additional honorees are listed at and will be highlighted in the weeks to come.

Camacho and the other honorees will be recognized during the Alumni & Sports Hall of Fame Banquet on Friday, October 20, beginning at 6 p.m. The honorees will also be featured in the Homecoming Parade on Saturday, October 21, beginning at 10 a.m. Ticket information for the banquet and a full schedule of the weekend’s events are available online at

A 1963 HPU graduate, Camacho earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English with minors in history and Spanish before going on to earn a master’s degree from Baylor University and counselor certification from Southwest Texas State University. She served as a Texas educator for more than 30 years with school districts in Anton, Goliad, Abilene and Brownwood. She additionally worked at HPU’s Walker Memorial Library for six years. Camacho was a member of Delta Kappa Gamma Omega, an international society for women educators, for 30 years.

Camacho taught Sunday School and was on several committees through her church. She has also served on the Board of Directors of HPU’s Alumni Association. An HPU endowed scholarship was created in memory of her parents, Zenaido and Petra Camacho, and has helped many students attend the university.

Camacho said her HPU professors were good role models who encouraged her to do her best.

“Striving to do my best helped me to gain self-confidence when I began my teaching career,” she said.


Cutline: Esther Camacho of Flagstaff is among nine who will be honored during HPU’s Homecoming 2017 activities, October 20-21.

HPU’s Cooper participates in medical research program

Abe CooperBROWNWOOD – October 4, 2017 – This past summer, Howard Payne University senior Abraham Cooper of Early participated in the Baylor College of Medicine (BCM) Summer Medical and Research Training (SMART) Program. The program was a twelve-week research opportunity for top undergraduate students across the country interested in biomedical sciences.

Cooper was one of five students selected to be mentored by doctors in the research program with Texas Children’s Pathology and one of three students who got the opportunity to participate in the BCM SMART program. He worked in the lab of Dr. Daniel Lacorazza at Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston. Cooper’s research, titled “Testing Pharmacological Activation of the Tumor Suppressor KLF4 in Acute Myeloid Leukemia,” included experiments such as immunoblots, cytotoxicity assays and flow cytometry.

Along with the other students in the program, Cooper was mentioned in “The Path Report,” the Texas Children’s Hospital Department of Pathology newsletter, and will be included in a 2018 publication for the research he completed this past summer.

“It was a blessing to be part of the program,” said Cooper. “I am grateful for the faculty and staff at HPU who have prepared me to flourish in a research program at one of the top medical and research centers in the world.”

Dr. Derek Smith, associate professor of chemistry at HPU, said summer research is an invaluable experience for students.

“Students are given a primary responsibility for one aspect of a funded research project and collaborate with experts,” he said. “One reward of summer research for students is that they usually earn a mention in a published research article that benefits students as they apply for further professional study. However, in this case, the gene therapy that Mr. Cooper worked on could lead to effective treatments for certain types of leukemia. Such contributions to medical science are impossible to overestimate.”


Cutline: HPU student Abraham Cooper participated in a Summer Medical and Research Training Program recently.

Local DAR chapter celebrates Constitution Week at HPU

Clemons speaking at DAR meeting for webBROWNWOOD – October 3, 2017 – Brownwood’s Mary Garland Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution held its recent meeting in Howard Payne University’s Independence Hall with HPU students and faculty among the guest speakers.

David Clemons, HPU instructor of history, spoke to the organization about two modern schools of thought on the American Revolution. Following his presentation, HPU seniors Carrie Condra of Hurst and Skyler Schoolfield of Aledo addressed the audience. Condra and Schoolfield, both students in HPU’s Guy D. Newman Honors Academy, are the recipients of the Lottie Plummer Wooley Texas Society Daughters of the American Revolution (TXDAR) Scholarship and the Nan Massengill TXDAR Scholarship, respectively.

HPU’s Independence Hall, located in the Douglas MacArthur Academy Building, was an apt setting for the meeting, held in observance of Constitution Week. The room is an almost-exact replica of the room in which the nation’s Founding Fathers signed the two key documents of American freedom: the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.

Condra speaking at DAR meeting for webDoris Goacher, digital archives assistant at HPU, serves as regent of the Mary Garland Chapter. She described how the chapter’s history intertwines with that of HPU.

“A charter member of the chapter was Mrs. Mary Elizabeth Peacock Walker, whose home, the Walker House, is now the home of Dr. Bill Ellis, HPU president, and his wife, Dr. Diana Ellis,” she said. “HPU’s Walker Memorial Library is named after Mrs. Walker’s husband, James Allen Walker.”

Additionally, Lottie Plummer Wooley and Nan Massengill, for whom the two HPU DAR scholarships are named, both have HPU connections as well.

“Mrs. Wooley, a Texas State Regent from 1967-1970, selected as her State Regent’s Project a contribution to the completion of Constitution Hall at the Douglas MacArthur Academy of Freedom at HPU,” said Goacher.

Constitution Hall, a lecture hall on the third floor of the Academy building, was named in honor of the DAR’s Constitution Hall in Washington, D.C.

Schoolfied speaking at DAR meeting for web“The Texas Daughters were able to raise more money than was needed for the project, so the State Conference of 1970 established a scholarship at HPU, in Mrs. Wooley’s honor, with the remaining funds,” Goacher said.

According to Goacher, Cornelia “Nan” Massengill was State Treasurer during Wooley’s administration.

“She visited HPU several times with Mrs. Wooley and liked what the university stood for,” Goacher said. “She requested in her will that a DAR scholarship be established at this university.”

For more information about the Daughters of the American Revolution organization, visit



David Clemons, instructor of history at HPU, addressed the Mary Garland Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution at the chapter’s recent meeting held in HPU’s Independence Hall.

Carrie Condra, HPU senior from Hurst, is the recipient of the Lottie Plummer Wooley Texas Society Daughters of the American Revolution (TXDAR) Scholarship.

Skyler Schoolfield, HPU senior from Aledo, is the recipient of the Nan Massengill TXDAR Scholarship.

HPU Homecoming 2017 scheduled October 20-21

HC Logo 2017BROWNWOOD – October 3, 2017 – Howard Payne University alumni, friends, students, personnel and guests from the community are destined for a memory-filled weekend as The Yellow Jacket Express – Homecoming 2017 arrives on campus. The train-themed weekend, October 20-21, features more than 30 events, many of which will appeal to the entire community.

Alumni and visitors may register for Homecoming events 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

Laura Benoit, HPU’s director of alumni relations, said she is looking forward to the many events scheduled on campus and around town.

“Of particular interest this year is our bonfire and fireworks display, which many from the community enjoyed last year,” she said. “We’re excited to bring it back, and this year the event will take place at the Bert V. Massey II Sports Complex.”

The bonfire and fireworks display begin at 9 p.m. on Friday, October 20. The sports complex is located at 2301 Dickman Drive in Brownwood, near the Camp Bowie Aquatic Center.

Additional events are highlighted below.

Performances of “The Pirates of Penzance” will be held in Mims Auditorium on Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. each evening. Tickets are $8 for adults and $5 for students and children. Tickets may be purchased through the Homecoming website or at the door on the evenings of the performances. Those who purchase tickets online for Thursday’s performance should contact the Office of Alumni Relations prior to the event at 325-649-8044.

HPU’s Walker Memorial Library will open its Archival Display and Treasure Room to the public Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturday, 8:15 a.m. to noon.

“Self-Curated 2 Exhibition,” the artwork of the Brownwood Art Association, will be exhibited in the Dorothy and Wendell Mayes Art Gallery located inside HPU’s Doakie Day Art Center. Gallery hours during Homecoming weekend are Friday and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The Golden Graduate Luncheon honoring the Class of 1967, sponsored by Wendlee Broadcasting, will be held Friday from noon to 1:30 p.m. in the Richard and Wanda Jackson Conference Room of the university’s Paul and Jane Meyer Faith and Life Leadership Center.

The Booksaw Off the Rails Escape Room, hosted by the Walker Memorial Library, is scheduled Friday, 12:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., and Saturday, 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

The Homecoming Court will be presented during Homecoming Convocation at 2 p.m. on Friday in Mims Auditorium.

The Alumni and Sports Hall of Fame Banquet will be held Friday from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. in the Beadel Dining Hall of the Mabee University Center. During the banquet, the Homecoming 2017 honorees will be recognized. Doors open at 5:45 p.m.

Following the banquet on Friday will be Cobbler on the Campus sponsored by Underwood’s Cafeteria. This event begins at 7:30 p.m. at HPU’s Muse Plaza and Mall.

Friday evening will conclude with a bonfire and fireworks display (time and location listed above).

The Alumni Association Remembrance and Reflection, a time designated to gather in memory of alumni who have passed away, will take place at 7:30 a.m. on Saturday at HPU’s Muse Plaza and Mall by the statue.

Saturday morning’s Decades Breakfast begins at 8 a.m. During this time, alumni are invited to reunite with friends from their class decades in the Beadel Dining Hall of the Mabee University Center. Also at 8 a.m. on Saturday will be the Class of 1972 45th Reunion Breakfast in the dining hall, the Hispanic Fellowship Breakfast in Bullion Suite A of the Mabee University Center and the Letterman’s Breakfast in Bullion Suite C.

The Homecoming Parade, sponsored by Bruner Auto Group, begins at 10 a.m. on Saturday morning. The parade will begin at the Brownwood Coliseum, travel down Center Ave. and end at the university’s Doakie Day Art Center. The best areas to view the parade are downtown and on campus along Center Avenue.

Little Jackets’ Nest, sponsored by Brownwood Area Chamber of Commerce, featuring games and other free activities for children, will be held from 10:45 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. on Saturday at the Muse Plaza and Mall.

A Family Picnic Lunch, sponsored by Visit Early Texas, will be held from 11:30 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. on Saturday at the Muse Plaza and Mall and Beadel Dining Hall.

HPU’s School of Music and Fine Arts will present a Choir Concert at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday in the university’s Mims Auditorium.

A variety of departmental and student-organization receptions will be held Saturday afternoon from 1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. in the Richard and Wanda Jackson Conference Room of the Paul and Jane Meyer Faith and Life Leadership Center.

A pep rally will be held prior to the football game, beginning at 3 p.m., at Festival Park at Gordon Wood Stadium. Additionally, all HPU classes are invited to participate in a tailgate event featuring snacks and beverages. A reception for the African-American Alumni Chapter will also be held as a tailgate event at this time.

The HPU Yellow Jacket football team will play Sul Ross State University at 4:00 p.m. Saturday at Gordon Wood Stadium.

A variety of reunions, athletic events and other events will be held throughout the weekend. A complete schedule of events and ticket prices are available online at

In addition to the sponsors mentioned above, HPU thanks the following business for their support: Willie’s T’s (Homecoming t-shirt sponsor), Marsh & McLennan Agency, Mills County State Bank, Dr Pepper Bottling, United Supermarkets, Citizens National Bank, Down Home Digital, Early Blooms & Things, Painter & Johnson Financial, PF&E Oil Company, Porter Insurance Agency, TexasBank, John Woolsey Ice House, and Smith & Sharpe Insurance Agencies.

HPU theatre to present “The American Dame”

BROWNWOOD – October 2, 2017 – Howard Payne University’s Department of Theatre will present “The American Dame” by Philip C. Lewis this weekend at the HPU Theatre, 202 Whaley Street in Brownwood. Show times are Friday, October 6, and Saturday, October 7, at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, October 8, at 2:30 p.m. Tickets are $8 for adults and $5 for students and children. Admission is free for all HPU students as well as for HPU personnel and their families.

The performances will be presented in a unique format called a “playout.”

“This is a style of theatre in which you announce a theme and then play it out,” said Dr. Nancy Jo Humfeld, chair of HPU’s Department of Theatre and professor of theatre. “This play’s theme is the progression of women from creation to about 1963 when the play was written.”

Styled in a series of narration and vignettes, the play includes verbatim content from historical documents such as letters between John and Abigail Adams, portions of a sermon by Cotton Mather and the works of William Shakespeare and other theatrical writers.

“This has been an interesting experience for our millennial-age actors, many of whom have no first-hand knowledge about the ideas they are performing,” said Dr. Humfeld.

Performers are Brooklyn Britton, sophomore from Brownwood; Trey Carpenter, senior from Hamilton; Katie Cravey, sophomore from Huntsville; Hailey Green, junior from Kennedale; Sara Heinrichs, freshman from Hico; Caleb Kostreva, junior from Clifton, Colorado; Deejay Moses, junior from May; and Laurel Pinkney, freshman from Carrollton. Cassia Rose, senior from Winnsboro, is stage manager and Shannon Parrish, senior from Brownwood, is the sound designer.

For more information, contact HPU’s School of Music and Fine Arts at 325-649-8500.

HPU’s Stark serves at Mission Arlington through Go Now Missions

Candace Stark 2BROWNWOOD – October 2, 2017 – Howard Payne University junior Candace Stark of Midland served in Arlington this past summer through Go Now Missions, a cooperative organization of Baptist churches that mobilizes Texas university students to share the love of Jesus Christ across the world. Through Go Now Missions, Stark was able to serve at Mission Arlington for four weeks.

Mission Arlington is a center for community ministry in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. The many different service ministries at Mission Arlington provide help with the physical needs of the community’s people while introducing them to the Bible and Jesus Christ.

While serving with Mission Arlington, Stark spent most of her time in the “out back” area where donations of clothing and household items were delivered and sorted. While there, she had the opportunity to share Jesus with those serving with her and to pray with them for four weeks.

“The reason I chose to serve ‘out back’ was because at times when it was not too busy I could talk with the volunteers,” said Stark. “Many people working there were serving court-ordered sentences and were amazed that I chose to serve in that area by raising money to do so. My willingness to open up to those whom others had given up on was a neat and humbling experience.”

While serving with Mission Arlington, Stark also assisted with “Rainbow Express” which is similar to Vacation Bible School. She helped serve food and teach the kids about Jesus while the adults were taught separately about Jesus as well. The event occurred two times per week for two weeks.

“Rainbow Express was such a great success and the turnout was unbelievable,” said Stark. “So many kids and adults accepted Christ during the event and that was a blessing to see.”

In addition, Stark served at Remynse Street Fellowship, a local church in the area. Stark said she was taught valuable biblical and life lessons by a special woman in the church. She had the opportunity to learn more about being intentional in working with the kids in the area and in mission work.

“God really showed how sovereign He is in all situations and how we should not question why or where He sends us to do His work,” said Stark.

Cutline: HPU student Candace Stark served at Mission Arlington this past summer.

HPU’s Student Speaker Bureau to host British debate team

DebateBROWNWOOD – September 29, 2017 – Two members of Howard Payne University’s Student Speaker Bureau speech and debate team will publicly debate members of the British National Debate Team on Sunday, October 15, beginning 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.

HPU juniors Christopher Freeland of Bangs and Tyler Olin of Howe will debate against British team members Rebecca Howarth and Richard Hunter. The topic for the debate is “This house regrets social media.”

Christopher Freeland, a theatre education major, serves as the Student Speaker Bureau team captain and draws from many years of cross-examination and parliamentary debate. In University Interscholastic League (UIL) Cross Examination debate, Freeland qualified in the state octo-finals as District Champion. In the March 2017 National Christian College Forensics Association national tournament, Freeland ranked 7th National Parliamentary Debate Association (NPDA) Junior Varsity Speaker and debated in the finals junior varsity round of NPDA Debate. Freeland also participates in extemporaneous and impromptu speaking as well as prose and poetry interpretation.

Tyler Olin, a social science jurisprudence and Guy D. Newman Honors Academy major, is in his second year on HPU’s speech and debate team. He had three years’ experience of team policy debate in high school, placing at the regional qualifiers meet his senior year. In college he has been named an octofinalist at a regional tournament in Texas, a semifinalist at the Texas Intercollegiate Forensics Association Fall Championship and a finalist in junior varsity at the National Christian College Forensics Association national championship. He also achieved a semifinalist finish in individual parliamentary debate at the Texas Intercollegiate Forensics Association Fall Championship.

Rebecca Howarth studied economics with German at the University of Birmingham, graduating in 2015. Her key debating achievements include reaching the quarter finals of the European University Debating Championships in Vienna, Austria. Between 2012 and 2015, she won five and qualified for the finals of approximately 14 national and international competitions. While studying abroad in Berlin, she reached the finals of the “German as a foreign language” category of the German National Debating Championships. She is also an accomplished judge, having been selected as chief adjudicator for approximately six tournaments and judging numerous finals, including the Japanese University Debating Championships. She currently works in management consulting at PricewaterhouseCoopers, where she runs a debating initiative designed to improve communication skills in the workplace.

Richard Hunter grew up in Bangor, Northern Ireland, and began competitively debating at a young age, twice reaching the final of the Northern Ireland Schools Debating Competition. He went on to attend the University of St Andrews, pursuing a degree in modern history. While at university, he was able to participate in dozens of competitions in the United Kingdom and around Europe competing against students from all over the world. His debating achievements include reaching the final of the Scottish leg of the John Smith Memorial Mace in 2017 as well as acting as an adjudicator at the European University Debating Championships in 2016 and 2017.

Dr. Julie Welker, HPU professor of communication and chair of the Department of Communication, coaches the Student Speaker Bureau.

“We’re proud to host the members of the British National Debate Team and look forward to this opportunity for cultural exchange,” she said. “We hope the community will join us for this exhibition debate.”

High school teachers interested in bringing their students to the debate are encouraged to contact Dr. Welker by e-mail at For more information about HPU’s Student Speaker Bureau, visit

HPU hosts Brownwood Art Association Self-Curated 2 Art Exhibit

Self-Curated 2BROWNWOOD – September 29, 2017 – Howard Payne University’s Department of Art will host an art exhibit titled “Brownwood Art Association Self-Curated 2 Art Exhibit” through Friday, October 27. This free exhibit is open to the public and available for viewing at the Dorothy and Wendell Mayes Art Gallery in the university’s Doakie Day Art Center.

The art exhibit, by members of the Brownwood Art Association, features works of art including photography, acrylic and oil paintings, and pencil and watercolor sketches.

“The Brownwood Art Association is a wonderful group of local artists who have ‘The Art Spirit,’” said David Harmon, chair of the Department of Art and professor of art. “In 2013, we hosted a self-curated exhibition that involved the artists’ selections of their best works and have decided to repeat the process with this exhibit. I am sure everyone will be delighted to see the best of local Brownwood visual talent.”

The exhibit will be open to the public on Mondays, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.; Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.; and Fridays, 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. The Doakie Day Art Center is located on the HPU campus, on Center Avenue, near Lipscomb Street in Brownwood. For more information, contact David Harmon at 325-649-8088 or


Cutline: Howard Payne University’s Department of Art will host an art exhibit titled “Brownwood Art Association Self-Curated 2 Art Exhibit” through Friday, October 27.

HPU Chapel speaker urges Christians to show Christ-like hospitality

Nell Green HPU Chapel for webBROWNWOOD – September 28, 2017 – Howard Payne University held its weekly Chapel service Wednesday morning with Nell Green, missionary with Cooperative Baptist Fellowship Internationals, delivering the address to students, faculty and staff.

Green encouraged her fellow Christians to show Christ-like hospitality to others, regardless of their religious or political beliefs.

“You are in a position right now to be used by God as a blessing to the nations,” she said.

Green and her husband, Butch, are based in Houston. They work extensively with international refugees and immigrants.

The overall theme for HPU Chapel this semester is “Love God, Love Others.” To see the full slate of Chapel speakers, visit


Cutline: Nell Green, missionary with Cooperative Baptist Fellowship Internationals, spoke at HPU’s Chapel service on September 27.

HPU names Laura Benoit director of alumni relations

Laura Benoit director for webBROWNWOOD – September 28, 2017 – Howard Payne University recently named Laura Benoit as director of alumni relations. Benoit joined the university’s staff in October 2014 as assistant director of alumni relations and was promoted in 2016 to the position of associate director.

“Laura has been a valuable member of our staff for the past three years and is a natural fit in this role,” said Randy Yeakley, vice president for development. “We’re proud to have her working with our vast network of alumni and former students.”

Benoit said she’s enjoyed meeting many of HPU’s alumni and friends.

“These individuals helped shape the university’s rich history, so it’s a joy to have the opportunity to develop relationships with them,” she said.

Prior to arriving at HPU, Benoit served as director of parent relations for Cazenovia College in Cazenovia, New York. She and her husband, Joseph, have two adult children, Amanda and Aaron.

Among other responsibilities at HPU, Benoit will oversee the university’s Homecoming celebrations each fall. HPU’s Homecoming 2017 festivities are slated for October 20-21.

For more information, contact HPU’s Office of Alumni Relations at 325-649-8044 or


Cutline: Laura Benoit was recently named director of alumni relations at HPU.